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Ogniem i mieczem (The Trilogy #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,389 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Ogniem i mieczem, pierwsza z powieści tworzących Trylogię, przedstawia dzieje Polski w dobie powstania Chmielnickiego (1648-1654). Pisarz, starając się wzbudzić w czytelnikach patriotyczne uczucia, nadał powieści cechy antycznego i rycerskiego eposu, wprowadził baśniowość oraz wyraźny podział na bohaterów reprezentujących dobro i zło. Jednoznacznie negatywną kwalifikację m ...more
528 pages
Published 2007 by Zielona Sowa (first published 1884)
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Community Reviews

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November 2009

When Henryk Sienkiewicz (Sin-KAY-vitch) won the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature "because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer," this is what the Swedish Academy was talking about. At over 1100 pages, With Fire and Sword is only the first book of a trilogy--known as The Trilogy in Poland, where it is practically a national epic, having sustained Poland’s cultural identity and morale thoughout decades of Nazi and Communist rule during the last century (see the foreword by James
This novel is the first in a trilogy which is so famous in its native Poland that it is simply called "The Trilogy," in much the same way that people often use "Tolkien" as shorthand for "The Lord of the Rings."

It is a sprawling patriotic epic. The first thing that struck me was the importance of nature. The first description in the book is that of the landscape of the Steppe. And it continues to be important, affecting the outcome of a battle here, obstructing a desperate search there, providin
Elijah Kinch Spector
[Cross-posted here, but with pretty pictures!]
"Bohun was more like the passing spirit of their own cruel and heroic era than just another man."
This book reminded me why it is that I love serialized fiction so very much. Had it been planned out and written all at once, I think it’s safe to say that With Fire and Sword wouldn’t be the novel it is.

Henryk Sienkiewicz (and yes, one of my childhood heroes is his descendant) is a difficult author for an English-speaker to explore. In Poland, the
Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome
Jul 24, 2007 Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody on earth
published in 1884, this might be my favorite novel of all time. sienkiewicz is considered by many to be the polish tolstoy. he won the nobel prize for literature in 1905, and is probably the most beloved polish author of all time. wrote the classic 'quo vadis' which i've still yet to read. this novel is part of a trilogy - called THE trilogy by the poles, whose national identity these novels sustained throughout the nazi and stalinist occupations. they were banned by the soviets for that reason. ...more
This has been accurately described as the "Gone with the Wind" of Eastern Europe. In my humble opinion, this is the greatest work of Sienkiewicz, surpassing even "Quo Vadis" in breadth and detail. It is a sweeping historical saga of the Polish/Lithuanian kingdom pitted against the Zaporozhian Cossacks and Tatars of the Crimean region. It has the same flavor as "Taras Bulba" by Nikolai Gogol, but with much more depth and richness of story and character. It is a novel that requires and invites re- ...more
The best book, I have read in a long time, if not my life. Honor, duty, fraternal love and all the violence you can imagine. It is like a Cormac McArthy book on steriods (I referring to Blood Meridien here). The violence in the wild west has nothing on the Ukraine. The main difference is that in this retelling of the period, there still existed men with virtue, while McArthy omits virtue from his world. It is just that virtue that makes the biggest difference in life - without it , all is useles ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One important note... if you read the trilogy in English, be sure to read this translation by Kuniczak. I started reading one by a different translator and the difference was night and day. It was like reading a wooden story by an author of adventure books for young adults instead of a well written story by a great author. If you read a poor review I wonder if the reviewer didn't read the other translation.

The books in the trilogy read like a mix of "War and Peace" and "The Three Musketeers". Wo
This book was amazing! I cannot believe it's not at the top of every Classics in World Lit list. It has it all: epic battles, duels, humor, unspeakable tragedy, triumph of the human spirit, friendship and the endless mercy of God. What a treasure.
May 11, 2013 Seth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: War and Peace Lovers
Shelves: recommended

This is the Polish War and Peace. Nobel Prize winning! Over a thousand pages, though, and NO ONE will get off their ass to read it. A shame. It is incredibly good. In the good way.
Scribble Orca
Feb 02, 2013 Scribble Orca marked it as to-be-consideread  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Scribble by: Richard

So ... erm ... in the war of recommendations, this book was added because I'm friends with Richard but it was Jacob's review that added the final clinch. See thread below.
Joan Colby
This was a favorite of mine as a child—all the action, blood and thunder. Rereading it I’m still impressed with Sienkiewicz’ vivid descriptions of battles, conditions in the steppe, the political situation between the Commonwealth and the Cossacks and Tartars who teamed up to foment rebellion. The characters are wonderfully drawn especially the wily Pan Zagloba and the hotheaded Cossack Bogun. The Cossack hetman Hmelnitski is of course a historical figure, a hero of the Ukraine, but considered a ...more
Lots of times, I write, "This book changed my life." or "This book will change your life." or something equally as hyperbolic. This book might not change your life, but it is one of the best reads I have devoured. I am forever in love with Prince Yeremi, the most compelling historical figure in fiction I have ever crossed. If I could afford to lose another month of productivity drowning myself in 1100+ pages of Polish-Lithuanian conflict, I would start on the second book of the trilogy. But alas ...more
Mark Singer
Apr 06, 2011 Mark Singer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: no one
I saw this in my local public library in the early 90s, was intrigued, and took it out. I knew nothing about the time period or setting before picking it up. Originally written in 1884, the story is set in 1648 when the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was shaken by the great Cossack rebellion on its eastern frontier. Its an adventure story that's hard to put down...boy-meets-girl, girl-gets-kidnapped-by-jealous-Cossack, and so-on. All the while rebellion is spreading and battles are raging. The c ...more
Oct 10, 2012 Chrissie marked it as own-unread  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, hf, poland, russia, series, alt
First of a trilogy.

Currently free in kindle format at Amazon:

Next in Trilogy is The Deluge.
Third is Pan Michael - An Historical Novel of Poland, the Ukraine, and Turkey

according to :

Thanks, Bryn, for helping me with this!
One of the greatest historical fiction novels ever written. Book one of the trilogy which includes The Deluge and Fire on the Steppe. It is a saga of war and rebellion that changed the face of Eastern Europe in the 17th century. First published in Polish in 1884 winning the Nobel prize for literature in 1905. Loved it.
So I read this at my husband's urging, it is a Polish classic and I guess everyone there knows the story and characters. It is very long, but so engaging! You have romance, adventure, comedy, war--I highly recommend it! There are many characters with hard to pronounce names, and the story is based on historical events.
Loved, loved, loved. The online synopsis compares it to Gone With the Wind, but it's also got a strong Alexandre Dumas flavor to it. It's set during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1647, but most of the action occurs in what is currently the Ukraine. I could go on and on about this book - from the almost-straight-from-Dumas characters to the class tensions to wondering how the ethnic groups of then compare with now to Polish politics and the impending feeling of future disasters to the joy ...more
"With Fire and Sword" is the first volume of a trilogy by Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz. It is a monumental work of over 1100 pages, but it was a much faster read than I thought it would be. This book talks about the Cossack uprising in Ukraine in the 1640s by the rebel Helmininski against the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. This is a part of European history that I knew nothing about so it was very interesting reading a fictional account of it. Unfortunately my Kindle edition did not have a ...more
If you can find a copy of this, GET IT! You'll never read another legendary war epic like it.
My love for this story began as a child when I was given a comic book based on it. Now, that I've read the first book of the trilogy I can honestly say that its even better now. This is a great historical novel and is worth every minute of reading time. I highly recommend this epic of the decline of the great Polish-Lithuanian "Commonwealth." If you enjoy adventure, daring exploits, feats of bravery, and loyalty you'll get a lot out of its pages. And it takes place in the Ukraine where a current ...more
Talk about epics: this historical novel illuminates an historical era and place of which I knew almost nothing, in detail that overwhelms. Its author earned -- for it and other related epic narratives -- a Nobel Prize more than a century ago, which made me curious (my friend Charlie's recommendation helped too). Well, after a grueling battle with this constantly entertaining tome, I am suitably overwhelmed, in the way that an epic should overwhelm.

First, I was tempted to say I've read nothing li
I have, after a year, come back to knock it down a star. Sad :( See, it deserved that fith star, but there was so much language and gore that no matter how much I loved it, I struggle with it. People have asked: What's that polish novel you go on and on about? And I pause for a moment, realizing I really don't know if I should recomend it or not. Still one of my favorite novels though.

Written for book club:
A civil war, a rivaled love, a country trying pull itself together while it's being rippe
You have probably heard of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Your teacher might have made you read the adventures of Wallace or Defoe, but you have likely never heard of Henryk Sienkiewicz. You might enjoy “Lord of the Rings”, King Arthur, and Robin Hood, but not know “With Fire and Sword.” You have been missing out.
Published in 1884, “With Fire and Sword” is a Polish classic that takes place during the 17th century. Fairly accurate historical fiction, it tells the story of the rebellion of Hmyelnitski
Nov 30, 2012 Jason rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans, war story enthusiasts
Recommended to Jason by: TaleWorlds
I am a big fan of the "Mount & Blade" video games. When I learned that "Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword" was based on a book, I decided to check it out. For about a year it sat as a Favorite on my web browser, then I picked up a free copy for my Kindle and decided to dig in.

My previous experience with eastern European history and literature is almost non-existent. I thought a story about Cossacks would be good because I did enjoy Robert E. Howard's "The Road of Eagles", but this book
How come the description says this has 1100 pages? I remember reading this when I was 9 and the movie was about to air in the cinema. I absorbed and cherished every word of this piece and I digested it within 2 days. However I don't think it was very long, but the fact is that I had a 2 volume edition and it was in the original language. The history of Poland in this book is about 3-5% of the plot, just a mere background for a bigger plot. Yes, this is considered as a national epic in Poland; ho ...more
Istrate Andrei
'With Fire and Sword', Sienkiewicz's epic that follows the love story involving Jan, Helena and Bohun against the backdrop of the Khmelnytsky Uprising can be described in two words : boring and biased. I'll explain each of them:
1. Boring - this is a subjective term that mainly applies to the love story between Jan and Helen. It is slightly more interesting than the one between Marius Pontmercy and Cosette from Les Misérables, so if you enjoyed that story you will certainly like this one. My opin
Einmal nur hat die Mutter uns geboren!

Polen im Jahre 1647. Als der Ritter Jan Skrzetuski Bohdan Chmelnyzkyj das Leben rettet ahnt er nicht, dass er damit die Mitschuld an einem Krieg tragen wird, der viele tausende Polen und Kosaken das Leben kosten wird. Bohdan Chmelnyzkyj beginnt eine Kosakenarmee auszuheben, um sich für an ihm begangenes Unrecht zu rechen. Die Bauern strömen ihm zu, um gegen die Willkür des polnischen Adeligen aufzubegehren. Mit diesem Bauernheer zieht Bohdan Chmelnyzkyj gege
Nick Senger
With Fire and Sword must be one of the greatest historical epics you've never heard of. Set in the 17th century, and told from the Polish point of view, it recounts a Cossack uprising against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The historical backdrop serves as a grand canvas for the portraits of courage, love, and spiritual devotion that form the heart of the story.

In print, With Fire and Sword is over 1000 pages, but it rarely lags, and never gets bogged down in historical exposition. Publishe
A sort of Polish Odyssey, this book has some memorable characters, most noticeably the humorous foil Jan Zagloba.

One passage I highlighted about the horrors of war:

"Near the gate a blood sight struck the eyes of the soldiers. On stakes of the hurdle-fence were to be seen the severed heads of the five Cossacks, which gazed on the army marching past with the dead whites of their open eyes; and some distance beyond the gate, on a green mound struggled and quivered the ataman Sukhaya Ruka, sitting u
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Henryk Sienkiewicz, "The Trilogy" aka "With Fire and Sword" 4 34 Aug 30, 2013 08:43AM  
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Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz (also known as "Litwos"; May 5, 1846–November 15, 1916) was a Polish journalist and Nobel Prize-winning novelist. He was one of the most popular Polish writers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905 for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer."

Born into an impoverished gentry family in the Podlasie vi
More about Henryk Sienkiewicz...
Quo Vadis In Desert and Wilderness The Deluge The Teutonic Knights Latarnik

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