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Ogniem i mieczem

(The Trilogy - 3 book edition #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,156 ratings  ·  134 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 ...more
528 pages
Published 2007 by Zielona Sowa (first published 1884)
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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,
Commodore Tiberius Q. Handsome
Jul 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Andrei Istrate
Nov 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
'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
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Over the course of 11 days I plowed through 133 pages out of a whopping 1135, and am ready to be done. Had this been a 300-page book I'd have finished and perhaps given a 3-star review. But you have to really enjoy something to want to go 1135 pages, and I wasn't looking forward to picking this up. The comparisons to War and Peace are misplaced: while Tolstoy had excellent character development and insight into human nature, this book's characters are drawn in broad strokes and their emotional ...more
Dec 03, 2012 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Wanda, Laura, Carey et al
Recommended to Bettie by: spotted on Gaeta1's profile
WOOT! Gutenberg has it:

An Historical Novel








Opening: The history of the origin and career of the two Slav States, Poland and Russia, is
Mark Singer
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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".
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
James Burns
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-librairy, fiction
I would like to say that This novel is officially my second Favorite Book that I have ever read, just slightly below #1, War and peace and ahead of my #3 book, Les Miserable, and #4 book, The Far Pavilions.
I know I have some of my goodreads friends who doesn't much like to read Historical Fiction, so I will quote the back of the book that I am reading now "Learn the truth through Historical Fiction."
If you find an author who does a thorough, in-depth research, you can then look the subject up
Jul 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: polish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joan Colby
May 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Read at a school. Then (shortly after reading) I was very thrilled. An action, an engaging love story, bad and good people, great true heroes and so on. A couple years later I started to see it as a propaganda, written for Polish people in times when Poland as a country didn't exist (after the Partitions of Poland). I felt cheated because I thought earlier that the historical background was totally true. I needed next years to understand that Sienkiewicz simply wrote an enjoyable books for ...more
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you can find a copy of this, GET IT! You'll never read another legendary war epic like it.
Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Bob Newman
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Perils of Pauline"---Polish Style

The Polish Commonwealth, a large, unwieldy nation consisting of two parts, Poland and Lithuania, was inhabited by many peoples. A rebellion by Cossacks, allied to the Crimean Tatars, injured the Commonwealth to such a degree that it never really recovered and 150 years later, disappeared from the map of Europe for over a century. This epic adventure takes place in the 1640s as Bogdan Chmielnitsky, the Cossack leader, loots, kills, rapes, and burns vast areas
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great book about Polish-Ukrainian history of 17th century...if you don't mind it being quite patriotic and one-sided, meaning Polish commonwealth soldiers are portrait as heroes who will fight end on end, starving, outnumbered until death or victory - against hordes of wild and blood-thirsty Cossacks, peasants and 'pagans' (Turkish army) on the other side, who only care about looting and are disobeying Polish supremacy.
The Polish defeats are basically only mentioned with short
The culture of Poland is one with an established set of household names (or 'heroes,' as a Czech friend once told me) of great Poles who deserve veneration irrespective of their flaws (though with the recent discovery of Lech Walesa being an undercover agent for the commies, that might change). Some of them are well known: Pope John Paul II, Thaddeus Kosciusko and, for the Chicago Poles, Casimir Pulaski. But when it comes to writers of prose, there is always one name that will make the top: ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I was always the weird kid who liked Sienkiewicz. With rather bland protagonists, this was my least favourite installment of his famous trilogy though and I didn't remember many details. It strikes me now how little in common I would have with some of the "brave, patriotic heroes" who looked down on pretty much everyone else (I'm looking at you, Zagłoba). It was hard not to cheer for the "wild" Bohun whose main crime was being a Cossack and in love. Suuure, he wasn't exactly a nice guy later, ...more
David Trawinski
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I shouldn't rate this book after reading less than 10% of it (it is 1125 pages), but I love the writing of Sienkiewicz. So many don't know of him even after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905. I only discovered him when friends gave me one of his works - "The Teutonic Knights" - which I loved. I put him right up there with Tolstoy, Dickens and Hugo. Really. That good!
Mark Seemann
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Reading this feels like a cross between The Three Musketeers and The Lord of the Rings - mostly like the former, though.

This is a romance much in the style of Dumas' most famous work, with plenty of swashbuckling, but perhaps less of the intrigue. With almost 800 pages, the main protagonists seem fleshed out to some degree, although the apparent 'hero' of the story, Skshetuski, is, as is often the case with these sorts of stories, the least interesting character, being good and noble, and all.

Oct 10, 2012 marked it as own-unread
Shelves: kindle, series, russia, poland, hf, 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!
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bottom Line First
Other reviewers have stressed their inability to put this book down. They correctly argue that With Fire and Sword is at least comparable to Gone with the Wind or Dr. Zhivago. I found it necessary to put the book down but I always found it more necessary to resume reading. Despite the overabundance of historical detail and unnecessary personalities With Fire and Sword is a great novel. I look forward to completing the trilogy.

In 1905 Nobel Prize to for literature went to Henryk
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The plot was complex and interesting, but it was the characters and their relationships that really made the book for me. I only wish that it wasn't so long and/or cut up into smaller books to make the reading easier on me mentally.
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Henryk Sienkiewicz, "The Trilogy" aka "With Fire and Sword" 4 77 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

Other books in the series

The Trilogy - 3 book edition (3 books)
  • Potop (Trylogia, #2)
  • Pan Wołodyjowski (Trylogia, #3)
“the ears of the prince. His guardianship over” 0 likes
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