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Against a Crimson Sky (The Poland Trilogy #2)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  791 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
A magnificent epic, Against a Crimson Sky is an unforgettable tale of love, valor, and the enduring strength of the human spirit, set against the backdrop of war-torn Poland at the cusp of the nineteenth century.  

The year is 1794, and the beautiful and resilient Countess Anna Maria Berezowska has narrowly escaped death amidst the chaos caused by the violent dissolution of
Paperback, 2, 456 pages
Published April 27th 2014 by Hussar Quill Press (first published August 8th 2006)
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Rita Shire
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Against a Crimson Sky is James Conroyd Martin's sequel to Push Not the River telling Anna's story of Poland during the Napoleonic Era. It is a beautiful story of family, honor, pride,militarism, nationalism, and patriotism. It is the story of Poland and it's people being continuously carved, traded, and demised by the Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and now,the French Empires. All the time the Polish people's sense of their true identity remaining extremely strong. I am so very glad I read Martin's ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
This is the sequel to "Push not the River" which I absolutely loved. This one is just as good as Anna starts married life with Jan and they have two children. He has adopted her son Jan Michel. Then Napoleon begins his conquests and many Poles join with him in hopes that Poland may once again be a nation. Much heartache for Anna as Jan is gone for many years fighting and she has her own problems with a vicious man in her home town who has been threatening her and once again, cousin Zofia enters ...more
For anyone who enjoys Napoleonic history, this is a look at the events from the Polish perspective. This is a very enjoyable trilogy!
Cheryl Lachapelle
Jun 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Follow up to Push Not The River. I am of Polish descent so the story is interesting to me. I also love historical novels so I enjoy that part of the novel too.
Danielle Urban
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Against A Crimson Sky by James Conroyd Martin is a stunning historical read. I loved it. I got to experience the Polish culture and the people of Poland. My grandmother is Polish so, reading this was even more exciting for me. War times are difficult and can bring much sadness. Hope, courage, love, and family life are strong themes inside this novel. A noble woman loses her son and husband to war. Pregnant again, she's hoping for a girl. Fate has a funny way of bringing a family together and tea ...more
Dawn Campbell
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. The last of the novel focuses mostly on the day to day struggles of the Stelniki brothers and their guardian Patel and contrasting for us again with the women at home battling worry and fear, caring for wounded while agonizing on the lack of news of their own family. And Anna and Zofia once again politicking to try and do what little they can to ease a friend caught in Napoleon's net of a love life and of course failed attempts to get back lost lands and estates.

We are there for the c
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great love and patriotism

I love historical novels. The history is enthralling all by itself. Adding fictional characters who you learn to care about makes the history seem more personal and real.

Against a Crimson Sky is well written. The telling of the Napoleonic Wars is well done. The use of Jan, Jan Michael, Pawell and Tadek helps the reader feel the desperate conditions faced by Napoleon's troops as his defeat became inevitable.

Anna proves herself to be a strong, loving and patriotic woman.
Kristin Noreen
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was predisposed to like the book going in, as I had read the first in the series already. I learned so much European history from this book! I was googling things as I went along, filling in more information to close the gaps left by my suburban education. This was a slow read, which is not a bad thing. The characters were rich, full, and believable. I was struck by the waste of war, the stupid loss of life. I understood the fight of the people to preserve their identity, but decimating popula ...more
Betty Strohecker
It is the year 1794 as Anna Maria Bereskowsa'a story continues in war torn Poland. Anna has faced tragedy, deprivation, and narrowly escaped death, but still she forges on in hopes that her nation will one day find peace. She is reunited with her longtime love, Jan Stelnicki, but his patriotism will see them separated again. Anna also must face the return of her cousin Zofia who has betrayed her in the past and will do anything to follow her own desires and insure her survival. Set amid true eve ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first received AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY, I didn't realized it was second in a trilogy. It turned out this book could be read as a stand alone book. I was thrilled when a started reading and couldn't put it down. The characters were strong, the settings magnificent, and I learned a bit of history along the way. This book deals with life in Poland during the Napoleonic Wars. This is the best historical fiction I've read in a while! I cannot wait to read the 1st and 3rd! I highly recommend this ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A little slow in the first two thirds but the last third was quite exciting. I found the author identified and highlighted two of the three characteristics ascribed to the Poles....namely honor and fortitude. The third that he missed entirely was faith....specifically the Catholic faith. I could have been reading about Scotland, or England for without the Catholic faith, Poland is just another country. Very revisionist novel. This is a disappointing sequel to 'Push Not the River" - a truly worth ...more
Jennifer Coe
Apr 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed Push Not The River, which was based upon a diary and true events. I was hoping the follow up book would be just as good. I was sorely disappointed. The story isn't based upon any true events, and the author spends too much time (in my opinion) rehashing the war events. I lost interest about half way through and I put it back on my book shelf with out finishing it, this isn't common for me, I usually finish reading a book, even if it isn't my favorite.
Jun 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
This is the sequel to "Push Not The River," which was excellent. It is not worth reading. Pretend it doesn't exist. The startling difference may lie in the fact that the first novel was based on historic fact, in the form of the heroine's actual diary, translated by one of her descendants; whereas, this was written by the author's own story-telling abilities, which are virtually nonexistent.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to "Push Not the River". Liked this book just as much as the first. Both are based upon true events upon which he builds characters as they might have experienced life in those times in Poland. I learned a lot about the Napoleonic Era here--things I don't think I ever learned in school (or maybe I just don't remember when they were presented as dry facts). Here people's lives are affected and we see how historical events had such impact on personal lives, not just the warriors ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I remember feeling like the reader diminutized the characters in this book - and I was hesitant even to start it - but she did not do the same this time. The voices were reasonable - easy to follow and stable across the characters. It turned out to be a really nice sequel - and it had more dates and historical specifics than I got in the first book - which made it more interesting to me (I'll have to go back and re-read the first book - its possible the specifics were there but I was distract ...more
Betty Ferril
Against Crimson Sky war story.

Was quite disappointed i the continual war story of this book and too little of the love story of Anna and Jan as I had expected.
I did not like that they were so continually taken apart and never did have time together and Jan had so little time with his children. Was no love story.
I will not buy book 3.
Engaging sequel to "Push Not the River." Great way to learn Polish history from an inside participant. Had no idea how desirable Polish cavalry were to military activity. Napoleon and the Russians played for Polish support.
Tonya Bulau
As with most trilogies, the middle book was my least favorite. I did like the continued story following this family through Polish history, but the book lost me with some of the battle/war details.
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
As a sequel to “Push Not the River,” this book continues the story of the Polish Countess Anna Maria Berezowska. The author began writing about her after discovering her unpublished diary, which recounted her experiences as a 17-year-old orphan who falls in love with her handsome neighbor Jan Stelnicki, but is brutally raped and married off before their love can be realized. Behind her misfortune is none other than her cousin Zofia, and “Push Not the River” follows Anna up until the Russian army ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just liked this book. The characters from the beginning, Push Not the River, got my attention and I immediately decided I would read this sequel. Though not as engaging as the first book, this one did seem to wrap up the story line which was nice, so as not to leave me wondering what happened next, but it also went into great detail of Napoleon and his war efforts to secure all of Europe as his empire. Though small in stature, Napoleon could convince thousands to march to his dreams and eventu ...more
Sep 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2008
'Push Not the River' was James Conroyd Martin's first book about Countess Anna Maria Berezowska. Which was based on Anna's own personal diary.

In 'Against a Crimson Sky' Martin creates for the reader a fictional continuation of Anna Maria's story from his own imagination.

I was not as satisfied with this story, I was disappointed to learn that this book was entirely fictional, which I failed to realize until I had already started reading it.

I'm glad I read it but this was not as moving as Push
This is the sequel to Push Not the River which is a novel based on the diaries of a woman who lived through tumultuous years of civil war and foreign invasion in Poland. This sequel, however, is not based on the diaries but is the author’s continuation based on his knowledge of the characters and his studies of the era. Because of this, the book lacked a lot of the authenticity that the first one has which, for me, definitely dampened its appeal. It also lacked a really compelling plot, it seeme ...more
Katrina Shawver
This book is a great sequel to Push Not the River, Part 1 of the Trilogy which I could not put down. I ordered Against a Crimson Sky within an hour of finishing the first book. The story continues, and it truly held my attention - for the first two thirds. But in the last third, it begins to drown in battle after battle of tragic history. I wanted more characters, less war and started skimming past all the war details just to get to more story. It is also confusing to mention so many small towns ...more
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited to read this next chapter in Anna's story. And it was mostly not a dispipointment. I say mostly only becuase of two main reasons. The first is that I knew it was not based on her diary or any factual accounts as was the first book. And secondly the book was too far sweeping as far as the time line went. It covered too much time and I felt the author dragged Anna's story out just so that he could include key points in history. Other then that the book was very well written, I ...more
Sarah Faulkner
I bought this book after reading the amazing "Push Not the River" by the same author, but was very disappointed in comparison. The previous book was based on the real diaries of one of the characters and this one was a sequel but the author just inserted a (rather boring) narrative into a dry historical timeline. I forced myself to finish it because I actually bought the book (based on loving the other one so much) but it was not fun. its definitely well-researched and gives a good overview of h ...more
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just loved these two books! The first book was based one a journal, diary, and the second on the authors imagination. So obviously the first is more historically accurate about people's lives; however, I feel the author did a beautiful job continuing there lives as they would probably have unfolded. And he added a lot more war sciences most likely to keep in the theme of the original book of a historical novel. For those who don't like the war stuff it is easy to skim...wonderful book, tastefu ...more
I didn't like this as well as Push Not The River in part, I'm sure, because this wasn't based on anything, whereas the first was based on two diaries. Still, it was enjoyable for the most part and a quick read. My mind wandered during all of the battle scenes. This book takes place during Napoleon's wars, and traces the lives of the characters over a time span of twenty years. I felt that much of the plot was a bit far fetched but entertaining; predictable at times, whereas the real stories in t ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patti Raney
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy reading books from this author. I didn't before know that I am so interested in the history of Poland. This novel tells about Napoleonic era from a perspective of the Poles, and about the family of Anna Maria Berezowska Steinicki. Four stars instead of five because I didn't like it quite as well as Push Not the River. Can't wait to read the Warsaw Conspiracy....that will finalize their story.
alicia molica
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great sequel to Push Not the River

I think this book could not be any better. It follows up the stories of the characters perfectly. Honestly this is the only book that's ever made me emotional reading it. The author did a great job of drawing you in and letting you get attached to the characters. I have barely been able to put this book down and can't wait to start the third of the series.
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James Conroyd Martin is the author of Push Not the River, a novel based on the diary of Anna Berezowska, a Polish countess who lived through the rise and fall of the Third of May Constitution. After working on the project for some years without raising interest within the publishing community, Martin self-published in 2001. Just one year later, St. Martin’s Press purchased the book and released a ...more
More about James Conroyd Martin...

Other Books in the Series

The Poland Trilogy (3 books)
  • Push Not the River (The Poland Trilogy, #1)
  • The Warsaw Conspiracy (The Poland Trilogy #3)

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