Monday, July 31, 2006

Against a Crimson Sky, Review

I was one of them. I was one of the many fans of James Martin who hoped for a sequel to Push Not the River from the moment I finished reading the book (which was published by St. Martin's Press in 2004). I became a history buff when I got addicted to genealogy. The two go hand in hand you see. And because my family's history is in Poland, finding a historical novel set in Poland was a real treasure.

Push Not the River has been hailed as Poland's version of Gone With The Wind for good reason. Like GWTW, it takes place in a time of turbulent transition when Poland was partitioned by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. It's based on the actual diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska which details her life and times in Poland from 1779-1794. It is a wonderful read and teaches us much about the political and social climate in Poland at the time.

And now we are about to be gifted with James Martin's sequel to Push Not the River... Against a Crimson Sky. ACS will be available August 8th, which is just around the corner. I've read an advanced copy of ACS and can tell you that it too is a wonderful read. ACS picks up where PNTR leaves off in 1794 and takes us through various military campaigns with Napoleon, Dabrowski, and Poniatowski, along with the fictional lives of Anna Maria Berezowska and her family and friends. It has something for everybody... history, drama, romance, and intrigue.

With Against a Crimson Sky, James Martin has once again managed to create a kaleidoscope of emotions for readers to experience. It's been said that there is no greater achievement for a writer than to create emotion in his readers. If that's true, James Martin is one successful writer.

I wish I'd thought to make lists of surnames and towns mentioned in Martin's two books when I read them. I know they would be of interest to genealogists, especially those whose roots extend to Poland, Russia, Austria, Prussia, and the Ukraine. If anyone out there reads these books and can make lists of surnames and story locations, pass them on to me and I'll post them.