Pan Michael: An Historical Novel of Poland, the Ukraine, and Turkey by Henryk Sienkiewicz (Polish title: Pan Wołodyjowski) Authorized and unabridged translation from the Polish by Jeremiah Curtin
Like any Sienkiewicz work, "Pan Michael" is a wonderful read due to its prose, his wonderful characterization and due to his ability to bring color to his works. It rounds out the Trilogy that has bridged stylistic centuries and proven there is an ageless recipe for plot, drama, character and objective. NO reader, regardless of ethnic background can fail to feel for the incredibly detailed main characters in this novel, such as Pan Michael or the daring woman, Basha. Action is not stinted and combines with the other elements in this colorful and sweeping epic to demonstrate history in one of the least well-documented areas of 17th century Europe. In Poland and Lithuania, where the edges of three great religions, and dozens of ethnic groups ebbed and flowed over the multicolored plains in endless kaleidescopes of struggle, Sienkiewicz paints a vast landscape of dramatic and epic action. He does this without losing the artist's eye for color or the political opportunist's artful demonstration of back-room dealings and rationales used by the shakers and movers of the novel's time-period (for it IS an historical novel). Not only is this clearly done with analogies for the time in which the novel was written (pointed examples clearly exist to parallel conditions in 19th century occupied Poland), but it resonantes with us in our hearts across the intervening century-plus, and in this, or any great republic. There is no doubt the reader will be more curious about the history of the period, and will want to read the other two novels in The Trilogy (With Fire and Sword, and The Deluge), but this is a stand-alone novel as well. The other books do not need to be read, but all of these books are precious, and they are in chronological order. All three will cause sleepless nights where you will be unable to put down the books. Written by the novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905 for Quo Vadis, these earlier books (The Trilogy, of which Pan Michael is the third book) for which he received grief from the critics but kudos from the reading public, were probably greater works, and are certainly recommended.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive.
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