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Hussite Trilogy #2

Warriors of God

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Reynevan—scoundrel, magician, possibly a fool—travels into the depths of war as he attempts to navigate the religious fervors of the fifteenth century.

When the Hussite leaders entrust Reynevan with a dangerous secret mission, he is forced to come out of hiding in Bohmeia and depart for Silesia. At the same time, he strives to avenge the death of his brother and discover the whereabouts of his beloved. Once again pursued by multiple enemies, he must contend with danger on every front. 
Full of gripping action replete with twists and mysteries, seasoned with magic and Sapkowski's ever-present wit, fans of the Witcher will appreciate this rich historical epic set during the Hussite Wars. 
Praise for the  The Tower of Fools,  book one of the Hussite
"This is historical fantasy done right." — Publishers Weekly  (starred review)
“A fantastic novel that any fan of The Witcher will instantly appreciate.”  — The Gamer
“A ripping yarn delivered with world-weary wit, bursting at the seams with sex, death, magic and madness.” —Joe Abercrombie 
“Sapkowski's energetic and satirical prose as well as the unconventional setting makes this a highly enjoyable historical fantasy.” —Booklist

Also by Andrzej
The Hussite Trilogy
The Tower of Fools
Warriors of God
Witcher collections
The Last Wish
Sword of Destiny
Witcher novels
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of Swallows
Lady of the Lake
Season of Storms
The Malady and Other An Andrzej Sapkowski Sampler  (e-only)
Translated by David French

650 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Andrzej Sapkowski

199 books15.4k followers
Andrzej Sapkowski, born June 21, 1948 in Łódź, is a Polish fantasy writer. Sapkowski studied economics, and before turning to writing, he had worked as a senior sales representative for a foreign trade company. His first short story, The Witcher (Wiedźmin), was published in Fantastyka, Poland's leading fantasy literary magazine, in 1986 and was enormously successful both with readers and critics. Sapkowski has created a cycle of tales based on the world of The Witcher, comprising three collections of short stories and five novels. This cycle and his many other works have made him one of the best-known fantasy authors in Poland in the 1990s.

The main character of The Witcher (alternative translation: The Hexer) is Geralt, a mutant assassin who has been trained since childhood to hunt down and destroy monsters. Geralt exists in an ambiguous moral universe, yet manages to maintain his own coherent code of ethics. At the same time cynical and noble, Geralt has been compared to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe. The world in which these adventures take place is heavily influenced by Slavic mythology.

Sapkowski has won five Zajdel Awards, including three for short stories "Mniejsze zło" (Lesser Evil) (1990), "Miecz przeznaczenia" (Sword of Destiny) (1992) and "W leju po bombie" (In a Bomb Crater) (1993), and two for the novels "Krew elfów" (Blood of Elves) (1994) and "Narrenturm" (2002). He also won the Spanish Ignotus Award, best anthology, for The Last Wish in 2003, and for "Muzykanci" (The Musicians), best foreign short story, same year.

In 1997, Sapkowski won the prestigious Polityka's Passport award, which is awarded annually to artists who have strong prospects for international success.

In 2001, a Television Series based on the Witcher cycle was released in Poland and internationally, entitled Wiedźmin (The Hexer). A film by the same title was compiled from excerpts of the television series but both have been critical and box office failures.

Sapkowski's books have been translated into Czech, Russian, Lithuanian, German, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, and Portuguese. An English translation of The Last Wish short story collection was published by Gollancz in 2007.

The Polish game publisher, CD Projekt, created a role-playing PC game based on this universe, called The Witcher, which was released in October 2007. There is also a mobile version of the game which has been created by Breakpoint Games and is being published by Hands-On Mobile in Western Europe,Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The English translation of Sapkowski's novel Blood of Elves won the David Gemmell Legends Award in 2009.

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5 stars
2,530 (41%)
4 stars
2,399 (39%)
3 stars
953 (15%)
2 stars
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46 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 152 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,084 reviews2,947 followers
October 9, 2022
3.5 stars
This is a solid second book in this historical fantasy series. In terms of characters and story, I found this one very similar to the first. There is very little fantasy in this one and instead leans heavily into the historical elements. I wish I was more attached to the main character, but I find him an incredibly average guy. Once again, I will advise readers to be aware that this series is very different than the Witcher series and won't necessarily attract the same readers.

If you are interested in this series, you will need to start back at the first book, The Tower of Fools.
Profile Image for Димитър Цолов.
Author 28 books271 followers
January 1, 2023
"Сиела" доста забавиха излизането на втория том, което допълнително усложни навлизането ми в повествованието, а тенденцията от предишния леееко да се пропуска тук-там превода на някоя латинска или друга чуждоезична фраза се запази... и не ме кефи. Ще добавя на моменти почти патологичната логорея (на принципно сладкодумния и с изключително чувство за хумор и към детайла) Сапковски - страховити, и по скромното ми мнение, абсолютно ненужни, изброявания на имена на исторически личности и селища - усетена по-скоро като вижте ме как съм се подковал, преди да седна да пиша тия романи. Оценка 3,5/5.
Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,259 reviews185 followers
November 3, 2022

Много забавно и изобилстващо с любопитни препратки във всевъзможни направления пише Сапковски в това продължение. Иронията, съчетана със своего рода романтика, придава особен привкус, крайно интересен.

Но вече 120 страници и години след първата книга просто не мога да навляза в сюжета. Историята на хуситските войни не ми се изясни особено, по спомен, в първата част, а тук само ме обърква още повече с извиращите във всяко изречение нови и нови имена на кого и какво ли не. Сюжет всъщност не видях - Рейневан се щура в различни забавни или недотам ситуации, и толкова, без особена връзка дотук, нямам за какво да се хвана.

Фонът и атмосферата са разкошни, но ми липсва преден план. Всъщност ако има книга, изградена само от хубава атмосфера, сигурно е тази. Но не ми е моментът за такъв феномен. Или просто не ми е моментът за по-дебелички трилогии…

Profile Image for Theo Logos.
634 reviews101 followers
June 9, 2022
Warriors of God, the second book of the Hussite trilogy, is a sprawling tale that plunges deep into the violence of the Hussite Wars. The first book, The Tower Of Fools, spent most of its time introducing readers to Reynevan, (our protagonist), and setting up the pattern of his misadventures, and the wars themselves were in the background. But now, Reynevan has joined with the Hussites, committed to their cause and become a spy in their service. Intrigue, treachery, and participation in violent battle ensue.

While there are fantasy elements in the story — fantastical beasts, shape changing creatures, and some minor magic, that exists around the edges of the tale, the meat of this book is historical fiction dramatizing the Hussite Wars that were a turning point in modernizing warfare. The battle scenes are intense and vividly told. None of the combatants are glorified; the concentration is on the brutality and amorality of war, with its code of ends justifying means. There are many scenes where the philosophy and theology of the conflict is discussed, with names like Wycliffe, Huss, and even Meister Eckhart bandied about.

I did have some issues with the book. It starts slowly and confusingly. If you haven’t read the first book recently you may find yourself a bit lost, as there is little to no recap of previous events that are key to present action. There are a plethora of individual and place names constantly coming at you that are not always easy to track. Though the protagonist, Reynevan, has become somewhat more competent and somewhat less of a complete twit, he is still foolhardy, still falling into situation after situation he simply shouldn’t survive. The book acknowledges this by having him referred to as one of fortunes favorites — an individual smiled on by fortune and blessed with luck where sense is lacking. Though I’m warming to him, he still bothers me.

But all of these faults fade away before the panorama of the larger story. This is excellent historical fiction of a pivotal and fascinating epic of European history. I’m looking forward to book three finally being published in English later this year.
Profile Image for Gintautas Ivanickas.
Author 14 books200 followers
May 7, 2023
Antroji knyga prasideda kiek vangiau. Ne, veiksmo kaip ir nestinga, bet truputėlį juntamas kiek dirbtinis gumos tempimas. Be to, pan Andrzej mažumėlę jau užsižaidžia su sąrašais (Malkinas, Palkinas, Čalkinas ir Zalkindas... ai, čia ne iš tos knygos, bet esmė ta pati). Bet vis tiek daro tai kokybiškai, tai atleisim.
Mūsų protagonistas, jaunasis Reinevanas, toliau svaigsta. Dabar jau ne tiek apie amūrinius reikalus, kiek apie šviesią ateitį, kurią sykiu su husitais atneš visam pasauliui. Kirviais, kardais, buožėmis, bet atneš. Pasaulį Naują pastatys. Ant senojo griuvėsių, be abejo. O kad senas dar ne visai sugriuvęs, ne bėda – padės.
Ir griauna. Vardan tos! Hyrrrr ant jų! Mušk, kirsk, degink!
Atrodo, karas ir abiejų kariaujančių pusių veiksmai jau turėtų padėti atsimerkti. Bet ne. Idealistas – jis ir yra idealistas. Nors Reinevanas jau nebe tas, kuo buvo prieš porą metų (t.y. pirmoje knygoje), bet vis dar nepasiduodantis sveikam protui. Ką reiškia vienas žmogus, kai ant kortos pastatyta Idėja? Net jei tas žmogus – brangiausia tau būtybė. Ką paguldysi ant Idėjos altoriaus? Ir Reinevanas guldo tai, ką gali.
Niūri knyga. Bet verta penkių iš penkių įmanomų.
Profile Image for Hex.
98 reviews6 followers
October 4, 2018
Trochę więcej tego samego, co w pierwszej części, poziom utrzymany. Humor ciągle w punkt. Zobaczymy jak to się będzie miało z trzecią częścią, bo powoli, acz stanowczo, Trylogia urasta do rangi jednej z moich ulubionych serii.
Profile Image for Jackson.
184 reviews57 followers
December 28, 2022
I mostly enjoyed my time with Warriors of God, but it certainly isn't without it's flaws.

It has been a little while since I read (and enjoyed) the first book, The Tower Of Fools, therefor it took me a few chapters here to reacquaint myself with the story, characters and the world.
The story here is set a couple of years after the conclusion of Book 1 and a lot has changed, particularly in the political sense. We are thrust amidst the bloody and violent Hussite wars, our protagonist Reynevan having joined their cause as a spy.

I feel somewhat conflicted regarding my overall opinion here.
There is some incredible instances of action, intrigue and treachery throughout this book - our primary POV being a sorcerer-spy for a religious crusade, whom is also trying to reconnect with the woman he loves whilst also being hunted by a shapeshifter as he journeys around Eastern Europe, sounds like the most breakneck adventure ever! But this really isn't what it feels like, and honestly I'm glad because I don't mind a story taking it slow narratively... but there is a limit, and my gosh did we reach that multiple times.
I know this is a "me problem", but the history, the geography and the politics became overbearingly dry for me over the course of this book.
I didn't mind or even really notice it in the first book, because it was in the background of the story - here however it was thrust to the fore and there was no avoiding it. Every character mentioned all of the countries and towns they've passed through or had heard news about - everyone felt like they had to reach a quota of times they mentioned names, titles, families or the heraldry of Silesia, Poland, Germany or Rome and the hundreds of smaller regions found therein.
Anyone that knows me and my reading tastes knows I enjoy and appreciate politics and history and thorough world-building, but at times while reading this it felt like a history text book, and despite that being perfectly suited for some people, for me fiction (historical or not) shouldn't feel that dull.

Despite that opening lengthy criticism, there were many elements of the book that I enjoyed.

"For the goal is nothing and the movement is everything. The world must be shaken at it's foundations. Call forth chaos and confusion! Anarchy is the mother of order, for fuck's sake. Let the old order crumble, let it go up in flames! And in the ashes will remain a shining diamond, the dawn of eternal victory!"

The characters - Reynevan's ability to find himself getting into trouble over and over again, the mystery behind Samson's origin and Scharley's off-screen antics where all very engaging.
New characters such as The Green Lady, Gelfrad of Stercza and the group known as the Vogelsang stood out to me as fantastically written side characters and they all added to Reynevan's story in different and nuanced ways.

The fantastical elements, despite being more infrequent here than in TTOF, where superb.
The alchemists hideout, with all it's secret passages and hidden knowledge. The fantastic appearance of Drowners/Vodnik. Reynevan's enchanted rings and the time spent in the Oubliette... These were all a lot of fun.

The pacing I felt was also really well handled. From being snowed in at a tavern for an entire winter passing in just a few paragraphs, to the long journeys spanning multiple chapters in which we experienced almost every moment - jumping between these two very different paces felt very smooth and natural, which impressed me greatly.

"The chase went on. Before it - announcing it like an outrider - sped Horror. And Terror settled behind it like dust."

So yes, this was a mixed bag for me. Lots of things I liked, quite a few bits I didn't like or couldn't fully appreciate.
If you are more of a historical fiction reader than me, or know your European history better than I do, what I saw to be shortcomings may not be for you.
I will definitely be reading the final book in the series, Light Perpetual, at some point soon. And I am determined to not leave so long between books this time, in the hope that I find it easier to engage with quicker.
But Warriors of God gets a medium ranking from me.

3 Stars

Thank you for reading my review!
Profile Image for Pavlo Tverdokhlib.
325 reviews11 followers
February 9, 2016
This book is freaking awesome once you get past the culture shock of the opening.

It's almost like a historical adventure novel, with fairly light fantasy elements (a tad heavier than the Baroque cycle), set during the Hussite Wars. Which is an amazing setting, because this is THE original Reformation, AND, because it's the second major conflict in Medieval history where infantry beats knights (gotta give The Hundred Year war credit for that)

Pacing is great once it finds its stride (the first 4 chapters). Lots of memorable secondary characters, and some deep commentary on the nature of faith, war, terror tactics, etc.

Battle scenes are awesome (Think Battle of Brenna from the Witcher books, but MOAR). The ending is strong.
Profile Image for Martin Doychinov.
437 reviews26 followers
February 4, 2023
Вече се бях отказал да чакам издаването на втора част, но чудото се случи и към края на годината - манна сиелска... Изпомеждудругото, като я купувах от зимния панаир на книгата от щанда на издателството и запитах що така ��равят, ми казаха, че преводът се е забавил, щото дали на преводача с приоритет да превежда някаква боза "365 дни" или нещо такова, но третата нямало да се забави толкова - да видим. :)
Много време изми��а от прочитането на първата част на трилогията, а при творби с множество персонажи, това е особен проблем. Според мен, като извинение към читателя, Сиела трябваше да сложат в началото резюме на случилото се в "Кулата на шутовете" и списък с персонажи и ролята им в историята. Ех, мечти... Резюмето според мен е абсолютно наложително за многотомници, но явно издателите не мислят така.
Докато първата част беше по-скоро роман за това как Райнмар се превръща от момче в мъж, процесът е приключил и тук си имаме работа с младеж, изпълнен с идеализъм, но все пак, имащ какво още да научи.
Сюжетът продължава, а няма много смисъл да се описва. Много е хубаво всичко - и персонажите, диалозите, светът, фентъзи-елементите са вплетени безкрайно умело. Само да не беше тая пуста писателска диария, без която обемът спокойно би могъл да е с поне 1/3 по-малък, а четенето - доста по-бързо и гладко. Сапковски е държал дори и най-повърхностният читател да разбере колко много е проучил и колко много знае, а и едва ли това е най-важното.
Последно, ще спомена, че слагането на някои бележки след края на книгата, като само се споменава от коя глава са, е възможно най-мързеливото замазване на положението. Те не са безкрайно много - 8 страници, но не е нужно издателят да накъсва допълнително четенето, при положение, че авторът го прави особено добре.
Месец четене по-късно и с развит стокхолмски синдром към поредицата - 4*.
Profile Image for Piotr Szymański.
26 reviews6 followers
July 13, 2010
An amazing book, not only a great source of good fun, but also information about the lifestyle and the politics of the XV century Silesia. After this read you will never look the same at old town squares and gothic cathedrals.
Profile Image for Maćkowy .
295 reviews71 followers
January 9, 2021
"Szkoda strzępić ryja". Kontynuacja Narrenturmu trzyma poziom, a Sapkowski to mistrz powieści przygodowej, fantastyczniej i w ogóle Trylogia Husycka to szczytowe osiągnięcie gatunku.
Profile Image for Anton Gladchenko.
12 reviews4 followers
July 2, 2016
Вторая часть «гуситской» трилогии Сапковского достаточно сильно отличается от первой. Юмора здесь уже намного меньше. А героев все дальше засасывают исторические события (в некоторых главах мы даже немного забываем про Рейневана и остальных), поэтому повествование все серьезнее и мрачнее.

Чем-то это все мне напомнило «Крещение огнем» того же Сапковского. Т.е. вокруг война и мы смотрим на нее глазами героев. Картины автор рисует очень яркие. В общем, вышло просто отлично.
Profile Image for Ladz.
Author 1 book35 followers
October 25, 2022
Content warning: war, accusations and threats of sexual assault, gore, blood, vomiting, illness, bigotry, use of the g-slur for Romani, reference to blood libel and pogroms

The saga of Reynevan of Bielawa continues as battles take place, more scheming continues, war ravages the countryside, and his personal reputation neither gets worse nor improves.

What Sapkowski weaves here is even more snark and careful maneuvering around political machinations, where he has no patience for the exploits of Reynevan and, I’d say, even enjoys dolling out consequences, dragging him further and further through uncertainty.

The cast in this book is massive. There are several Jan’s and Łukasz’s, and Sapkowski does a phenomenal job making them all easy to discern from each other, especially given that several tend to be in the same social classes and military ranks. I cannot at all comment on the historical accuracy, but the immersion in the time period, reminding the reader of the key players, the importance of cities and forts, it works really well and, while it certainly adds to the page count, it keeps the reader grounded in all the forces circling around Reynevan. There are more perspective breaks in this book, which helps give more insight into the different factions at work in fifteenth century Eastern Europe. There are the Hussites, the various Polish tribes, the Inquisition, and I’m sure that won’t be the last of the complexity come the third book.

Though there are several battles, the narrative sticks to its character-driven form. The only details provided are those relevant to wins and losses. What’s also fun is that the chapter headings help the reader temper their own expectations. While there aren’t specific spoilers, they set the tone of the outcomes and what lies next for Reynevan (generally, nothing good). Sapkowski has such contempt for his character, and it emerges in the hot coals he rakes him over. The fact that the chronicler gets more characterization makes me think he’s more than just a self-insert and might emerge as a character in Light Perpetual. To be determined, obviously.

The fantasy blends well with the history, where there isn’t a hard line between truth and legend, though it certainly blurs during scenes where a vodyanoi is interrogated and a green lady like The Green Knight makes an appearance. It’s wonderful and enchanting, and it won’t be long until we find out how it all ends.
Profile Image for Sebastian Gebski.
952 reviews840 followers
April 6, 2023
Generalnie mógłbym chyba tę recenzję odpuścić - wystarczyłoby przekleić tę z tomu piewszego i byłoby git. Ale nie byłoby to do końca fair - wprawdzie "Boży bojownicy" rewolucji nie robią, ale zasługują na parę słów osobnego komentarza:

Po pierwsze, Reynevan wpada na tolalną karuzelę - ma się wręcz wrażenie, że autor ciska nim jak kukiełką; nawet nie to, że bez ładu i składu - raczej w sposób mało przewidywalny, nie wynikający logicznie z kunsztownie układanej fabuły. Nie znaczy to, że nie jest ciekawie - to akurat zapewnia (ponownie) przebogate tło historyczne, ale ma się przez to wrażenie, że bohatorowie tracą przez to na wyrazistości - np. ewidentnie nie zagospodarowany odpowiednio Szarlej.

Po drugie - o ile motywacja głównego bohatera w pierwszym tomiszczu była, ekhm, niespektakularna, to teraz już jest z tym naprawdę kiepsko. Motywacje zmieniają się relatywnie często (dość diametralnie) i co gorsza - są niespecjalnie przekonywujące, pełniąc rolę dość kiepskiego usprawiedliwienia dla zapierd...cej fabuły.

OK, to dość poważne zarzuty, ale 5 gwiazdek jednak jest ... Cóż zrobić, choroba, skoro naprawdę dobrze się przy książce bawiłem. Do tego stopnia, że nie raz i nie dwa doczytywałem o tle historycznym "na boku" - miejscach, postaciach, wydarzeniach. A akcję śledziłem wręcz z wypiekami na twarzy i zdecydowanie bez znurzenia.

Nie wiem, może przy 3-cim tomie będzie już przesyt, zwłaszcza, że filozoficzne dywagacje zdają się sugerować mocno dramatyczne i mało pozytywne zakończenie (książkę czytałem już raz, ale tak dawno temu, że już totalnie nie pamiętam) - na razie jest OK. A nawet mocno lepiej niż OK.
Profile Image for Андрій Гулкевич.
Author 4 books41 followers
December 5, 2019
Друга частина саги Райвена розпочинається два роки по тому з подій попередньої книги. Протагоніст перебуває в лавах гуситів і, як завше, потрапляє в карколомні пригоди. Йому доводиться вкотре звертатися до чарів, хитрощів, а подеколи просто таланить. Роман стилістично нагадує сагу про «Відьмака», попри це автор передає середньовічний колорит Шльонська, Чехії та Польщі. Анджей Сапковський детально описує тогочасні вірування та звичну буденність, застосовуючи часто латинь, подеколи німецьку чи чеську мови. У романі проскакують середньовічні мотиви, які автор використовував утому ж Відьмакові. Завершення книги стало для мене значно цікавішим. Бракувало деяких другорядних персонажів.
Profile Image for Данило Судин.
492 reviews179 followers
March 10, 2018
ця книга - як конструктор лего, де всі деталі взяті з циклу про "Відьмака", але зібрані в набагато гіршій конфігурації, та й самі деталі - бліді копії оригіналу.
1) дивовижна трансформація Рейневана з мага в неофіта-гусита. як з чаклуна він став християнином? і як йому вдається поєднувати олне та інше? і чому його фанатизм вмикається лише в певні епізоди - коли треба зрушити з місця сюжет, який загруз? а так загалом і не скажеш, що Рейневан навернувся... автор скромно приховує неправдоподібність образу Рейневана, але факт залишається фактом;
2) дивовижна трансформація Шарлея, який тепер не егоіст, а також гусит. вже тут сас Сапковський відчуває, що щось не так, а тому більшість книги Шарлей відсутній. бо інакше в читачів буде забагато запитань;
3) але ми отримуємо копію Шарлея - навіть три копії! і всі - з підпільної терористичної групи, яка декілька років в глибокому підпіллі, а от з появою Рейневана - світиться так, що за голову запаєшся. то вони минулі роки тільки через одного (!) зв'язкового тримають зв'язок з гуситами, то після появи Рейневана за тиждень світяться перед дюжиною людей, причому жоден з них не є "шишкою" серед гуситів. як вони пару років були в такій конспірації? як?! їх же тепер легко впіймати!
4) Рейневан знову стає суперважливим персонажем, але чому всі його вважають супершпигуном? і де він набрався цього? автор мовчить. перші півкниги ясно, чому Рейневан важливий, але далі... він же ж медик, чаклун і ловелас. але не шпигун! він місію виконав - баста!
5) фон - відсутні будь-які третьорядні персонажі, якими аж кишіло у "Відьмаку", і які додавали творові правдоподібності. тепер все - наче у вакуумі, де головні герої серед порожньої сцени сваряться одні з одними.
6) та й головні персонажі наче фігурки з шухляди: автор витягає їх - і вони оживають, автор ховає - і в них в житті нічого не відбувається. у " Відьмаку" історії персонажів розгорталися навіть тоді, коли автор нам напряму їх не показував. а тут - персонажі, яких нема на сцені, не міняються, не розвиваються;
7) сюжет просто кульгає. тут так довго писати, що нема сил. просто нема сюжету: це набір окремих епізодів, до яких Рейневан і не мав би втрапляти;
8) мотивації персонажів. т��т також правдоподібності бракує. на жаль
Profile Image for Kain.
456 reviews10 followers
February 18, 2015
Książka na poziomie poprzedniej. Historia mi całkiem odpowiada, a do tego główny bohater wydaje się być już trochę mniej głupi - albo się przyzwyczaiłem. Krew leje się strumieniami, a jedna wersja - w sumie tej samej - religii siecze się z drugą, bo "moja jest bardziej mójsza, niż twójsza". Czyli jak widać od pięciu wieków się nic nie zmienia.
Profile Image for Madzio.
22 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2014
Najciekawsza przemiana wewnętrzna bohatera ma miejsce pomiędzy dwoma tomami trylogii. Sama książka to więcej tego co już było w nieco gorszym niż wcześniej stylu.
Profile Image for Sofija Kryž.
87 reviews8 followers
February 5, 2022
While I literally gorged up "Tower of Fools", I was struggling a bit with "Warriors of God" in some ways.

If I had to summarise "Warriors of God" in a single sentence, I would describe it as "Medieval ISIS and a dude trying to survive this". Which is interesting - this book had been written long before, in early 2000s. Well, Sapkowski must have had some sort of premonition.

In this book, blood spills quite freely and abundantly. Almost from chapter one. It's not that the readers should expect something else - if one recalls the end of the first book within the Hussite trilogy, they should not be surprised. And yet, in a way, whatever happened in the first book, was daisies. "Tower of Fools" is lighter in tone. While reading that, the reader gets elements from fairy tales, Sapkowski-esque fantasy, East European folk beliefs, fancy clothing, medieval Eastern European cuisine. And Reynevan is constantly guided by some gentle souls or relations, or... Providence.

While this book was getting more and more grim and dark with every page.

Not really surprising. The story of "Warriors of God" is set in a period when a religious revolution or even war is happening. And that constant feeling at the back of one's mind - that there is a war going - lliterally, in a battlefield, or somewhere in a neighbouring duchy, or just about to break out. Not unlike a storm. And this constant tension exhausts not only the characters, but the readers, too. One is sure - there will be plenty of dead bodies.

It's not that Sapkowski does not provide some relief to his characters or the readers. As the story of "Warriors of God" is set some two years after the events in "Tower of Fools", one finds Reynevan and co. settled somewhere in Prague and quite chill about their new Hussite life style. Blood and fires aside - nearly peace. What else could one expect in such a world? But this relief is quite relative as intrigues build up - gradually but intensely. Almost from chapter one. Even if the war is fought eomewhere else.

So what happens? Well, Reynevan decides to help his friend Samson, however, he discovers quite soon that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Especially when one finds himself in the turmoil of religious wars, discovers that he is still persecuted, and finds himself a tool for political intrigues.

When reading "Warriors of God", I was quite surprised to see some developments - especially in the dynamics of some characters. Reynevan here, for instance, is more serious, mature and battered by life. And the dynamics within his group had changed, too, one of the indicators being others taking out crap on him so much more rarely than before. Perhaps one should not be surprising - afterall, Reynevan had survived two years among religious fanatics, many of them totally rabid about their beliefs.

And yet, his transformation is not over yet. While one is tempted to get irritated about Reynevan blathering on his perceived truths, there are others whose blathering is so much worse. More so, one at least knows Reynevan believes in some of the crap he is talking. Plus, it is safer to play Roman when in Rome. So all in all, I was way less annoyed by Reynevan than before.

It is interesting that in "Warriors of God", Sapkowski chose to draw the main (or the main supporting) characters a bit further away from the main scene and developments. One way he does that - by focusing on political intrigues and religious demagogies. While the former were engaging, twisted and frequently foreshadowing some big developments would happen at some point later in the story (or explaining some quite confusing developments in "Tower of Fools"), the latter began to irritate me at some point. Especially when one encounters yet another rabid monologue on the greater cause. God, I would not survive medieval ages.

I digress.

Another way he does that is by focusing on worldbuilding. While Sapkowski manages miracles at creating a grim, dark atmosphere of medieval ages, some aspects begin tiring one at some point. There are only so many names and coats of arms one can remember and Sapkowki pours them non-stop. Which is difficult to digest if one makes a mistake of grabbing the second book of the Hussite trilogy without revising the first one. Resulting in encountering some name one knows they should remember but never actually remembering it. While I do love worldbuilding and small details, this time it was a bit overwhelming.

There is plenty of geography too. But here Sapkowski restrains himself and depicts Bohemian and Silesian lands so beautifully. I found the descriptions of these lands quite enticing, dynamic and varied. And quite tempting for a trip in the Czech Republic or southern Poland.

And yet all this worldbuilding has some consequences. In this book, Sapkowski keeps restraining some highly intriguing characters, putting them off for later. Which was a tiny little bit disappointing. He draws them out, blows dust away from them, briefly demonstrates them to confirm that no, he had not forgotten about them and then puts them back in closet somewhere. He does that both to some old and some new characters. But one desires to know more of them! Or, in contrast, exposes others to an extent they begin to lose their charm. This is what happened to my mental image of the Wallcreeper. I found him less creepy, less haunting in this book, partly because I found him more human here.

Just to finish on worldbuilding: in other scenes, Sapkowski trolls the readers by tossing some intriguing details at them (e.g. the mysterious shrine in the caves) and then drops it, leaving the readers to marinade in curiosity and wonder what the hell on earth was that. Spin-off? Not likely.

"The story is the queen!" - one remembers Sapkowski pointing a finger at them. Then one sighs and carries on reading, confident that excessive or trolling worldbuilding aside, intentionally hidden characters aside, the story will go well. And it does - there are other rich, interesting supporting characters that pull off such plot twists that one gets hiccups.

A nice thing is that Sapkowski did not forget fantasy elements in the second part of the Hussite trilogy. In a way, there is almost more fantasy in this book than in "Tower of Fools". Sapkowski not only conveniently exploits it to drive the plot, but playfully makes the story lighter making one laugh out loud in some cases. And that is something one really needs at times - I found this book quite hard to cope with emotionally at times. Sometimes to an extent I really needed to put the book aside for some time.

What made these fantasy elements so playful at times was references. Consider Brazauskas, for instance. Def fan service for Lithuanian or perhaps Polish fans. Or the secret agent with iron eyes. And the black riders - the more into the story, the more I became convinced these guys are a reference to the Nazgul.

Which leads me to another off-topic. I am more than sure that CD Project Red (CDPR) used the Hussite trilogy for inspiration when creating the world of the Witcher franchise. One encounters Berengar in "Warriors of God". Some creatures Geralt encounters in the games are actually described in this book. The occult magic practiced by the magicians and the sorceresses def reminds that encountered in these books. The battlefields of Velen with piles of dead bodies, roads decorated with hangmen, burnt villages with inns at crossroads, infested settlements in woods - all are mirror images of Bohemia and Silesia ravaged by Sapkowski's imagination.

And yet. Despite all these enticing experiences, I did not find "Warriors of God" easy to read.

Now. The last off-topic.

A couple of years ago now, I got into a minor argument with someone. What we argued about, was whether Sapkowski overuses the element of fate in his books or not. Back then, I argued he did not. However, by the time I finished "Warriors of God", I ended up deciding that he does like exploiting fate. Yet, whether that can be considered overuse - is a matter of taste. What I can say though, is that yes, sometimes he does pull them out a bit - whether by a well-timed recognition of some coat of arms or by an accidentally met femme fatale.

Yet, it does not make the book less interesting to read.

To sum up my impressions, yes, this book was a bit surprising. I did not expect it to be an easy read, but I did not expect how serious, deep and dark it will sometimes be, either. And yet - is it possible to describe lightly wars where a single individual, irrespective of what they are or feel, is only a small cog? Especially, if the destiny of that cog does not depend on its size or function? What made it a bit more difficult to enjoy, was the never-ending lists of names. Even if knowing those names and what faction they stand for can sometimes save one's life in a bigger game.

Already looking forward for "Lux Perpetua".
Profile Image for Janko Hudáček.
56 reviews4 followers
February 23, 2020
Sapkowského husistská trilógia je Menom ruže východnej Európy - rovnako encyklopedicky štedrá, s vynikajúco vystavanou zápletkou a možno dokonca ešte príťažlivejšími postavami. Netreba sa pýtať, či vie Andrzej písať, treba to zhltnúť.
Profile Image for Roman Zarichnyi.
453 reviews31 followers
December 5, 2019
Пригоди Рейневана із Беляви продовжуються. Друга книга із трилогії переносить аж за два роки після останніх подій "Вежі блазнів". Головний герой працює у лікарні та допомагає справитися із травмами та вберегти від загибелі усіх кого торкнулася війна 😔

Якщо у першій книзі ми мали таку собі роад сторі, де було багато пригод, неочікуваних поворотів та магії, то в другій - усе міняється докорінно. Таке враження, що потрапив у кривавий та епічний військовий епос. Куди не тікай, а доля у героїв тільки одна - війна. Рейневан вже не такий легковажний підліток, а більш дорослий та виважений. Та це йому не допомагає, бо разом із Шарлеєм і Самсоном далі потраляють у ситуації, які легко можуть завершитися смертю.

Магії автор відводить уже менше часу, але в той же час вона так легко лягає у сюжет, що дає відчуття правдивості усього надприродного у цьому світі. Потішили лікування каміння у нирках 😂

Переважають тепер військові деталі, політичні закулісні ігрища, планування хрестових походів задля винищення єретицтва та похід празьких божих воїнів, що мають показати, де істинна віра, а де пусті слова. Ну і звичайно, що Рейневан знаходиться прямісінько у центрі цього балагану. А ще й до того, його голову хочуть дістати усі можливі сторони, часто неочікувані для мене.

Усе уповільнюється, бо перетворюється на великого слона, де кожне рішення впливає у глобальному масштабі. Тому в деяких моментах читати було не так цікаво, як першу книгу. Але уже після прочитання бачиш той ґрунт, який Сапковський опрацював, щоб його роман виглядав історичному плані просто шедевральним, де фентезі та кумедні елементи лягають просто ідеально.

Також люблю те, що автор дає можливість розвиватися своїм героям у різних напрямках та додає одвічні муки вибору меншого зла заради кращого майбутнього. Тому персонажі не товчаться на місці, а постійно дивують упродовж розвитку сюжету.

Хоч друга книга сподобалася менше та своєю епічністю не вражає після прочитання циклу про "Ґеральта із Рівії", але багато чим здивувала та порадувала інтригою. Тому далі буде ще жорстокіше та серйозніше 😎
Profile Image for Maciej Sz..
105 reviews10 followers
February 26, 2015
I really like Sapkowski, his style, language, erudition, intertextual games and expressive characters. But, in fact, his book “Boży bojownicy” is a little bit weaker than “Narrenturm” for a few reasons. In the first part of this trilogy we have focus on the Reynevan's, Szarlej's and Samson's adventures, whereas the political changes are in the background, which was well balanced. We observe a contradistinction in the second part, where the main characters seem to be a little bit hidden. Sapkowski has put too much emphasis on war accidents and historical processes, way more than on the human relationships.

[Be careful - SPOILERS]

Moreover, after almost 1200 pages one scheme is not enough, and could be boring. A good example is description of Reynevan's adventures, when he runs away, falls into a trap, and after all saves himself. This pattern repeats again, and again, and again… ad inifinitum. It is not a realistic picture where main hero takes part in brawls, fights, battles, assassinations and conspiracy and still is not even once hurt greviously (except one time, near the end of “Boży Bojownicy”). There are too many coincidental situations which don’t build realistic plot. The best way to affirm this statement is to mention the moment when Reynevan caught the Adela's rapist.

Nevertheless, the whole trilogy is one of the greatest series in polish fantasy, except “Witcher”. Sapkowski is still an excellent writer, who is able to create completely different characters and shows how to attract reader's attention!
Profile Image for Mati.
988 reviews1 follower
February 4, 2008
Reinmar von Bielau was troubled young man who was stuck deep in the cesspool, which could be offered by early 15th century during Hussites movement. Reinmar became more mature and more self-aware. His life became entwined with the important politicians and warriors of his times, however he made mistakes mostly because of skirt. The femme fatale is here and our hero, like the mythic Lancelot, is trying to safe his queen with all means he had...which were nil. The war was creeping more and more in to the plot and it was described as naturally drags all characters in to it. And yes they were dying all around our hero. The big bad evil guy walked in to the scene with bunch of black knights to give poor von Bielau more headaches and more reasons to run like mad around northen Moravia and south Silesia. Some of the questions were answered but more are laid on and prepared for the third volume. I enjoyed every minute of reading it.
Boży bojownicy
Lux perpetua
Profile Image for Liviu.
2,251 reviews630 followers
June 8, 2022
The second novel of the Hussite trilogy starts somewhat less engaging with Reynevan having found refuge in Prague and engaging in debates about theology, the Hussite creed etc; when rumor reaches him that he may have a child out of wedlock with Nicollette the mysterious girl from his magical one night stand in Silesia, as well as with continuing tales about the persecution of the Hussites there and the vengeance the Hussite armies that control Bohemia and defeated the empire are preparing to wreak on the persecutors, armies whose leaders would love a local notable like Reynevan to join for his connection and his knowledge about the land, Reynevan decides that it is time to return despite the not inconsiderable risks of that; and so it starts and from then on the tale just keeps rolling through many highs and some lows, with Reynevan discovering who actually the beautiful girl on a horse that seduced him (or him her, unclear which) truly was (definitely not the noble one with the child in question), his on and off romance with her as well as his participating in the war, but also his quixotic quest for vengeance and so on.

A rollercoaster of emotion and action ending on a sort of cliffhanger, so book 3 is a must
Profile Image for Maria.
117 reviews1 follower
May 29, 2016
Потрясный роман! Если бы не отпуск я бы прочитала бы его очень быстро.
Рейневан как обычно вляпывается, Самсон его как обычно спасает. Единственное, мне не хватило Шарлея (да-да, он не главный персонаж романа, но я люблю его больше всех).
Язык очень богат, описания войны читать не менее интересно чем следить за основной линией сюжета. Некоторые моменты я зачитывала вслух для мужа. Близкий по менталитету юмор, колкие замечания и в тоже время грубые шутки приносят неописуемое удовольствие во время прочтения.
Сюжет меня захватил буквально после первых глав (лет через 10 я бы перечитала роман снова) поэтому о нем писать не буду.
Думаю, что третья книга цикла не залежится на полке в ожидании.

ПС Начала читать на польском, написано очень сложным языком. Русский перевод очень понравился.

Сапковский точно стал одним из моих любимейших авторов.
Profile Image for Gerardo Emanuel.
49 reviews5 followers
August 16, 2018
Muchos tildan a Sapkowski como un autor en cuya narración siempre prima el pesimismo, yo prefiero la palabra realismo. Así si la causa es justa, oprimir, matar, saquear y violar está permitido. Tampoco faltaran aquellos que sin necesitar de una “causa justa” lo harán igual.

Esto es el pan de cada día en esta obra. Aquí es donde acierta Sapkowski, refleja las miserias de la humanidad, esa ambivalencia o hipocresía, que son constantes en el tiempo porque son propias de nuestra especie.

Esta crítica del autor, junto con su capacidad de elaborar diálogos inteligentes son lo mejor del libro.
Profile Image for Irka.
57 reviews2 followers
October 17, 2017
En castellano el título es "Los Guerreros de Dios"
Este libro pinta un poco más en detalle el conflicto y las batallas de la guerra husita.
Las cosas se van poniendo fuleras para Reynevan...

Aunque el ritmo no parece haber bajado con respecto al libro anterior, las acciones ya no son tanto aventura como de batalla, y se hace un libro bélico. Sin embargo, los personajes siguen siendo geniales, las revueltas de guión insospechadas, y sigo aprendiendo cosas de la época que jamás hubiese creído (el tip sobre cómo conservaban la pólvora bien mezclada me hizo reir un buen rato).
Profile Image for Arsenovic Nikola.
424 reviews12 followers
May 3, 2019
Ova knjiga mi nije legla ali kraj je bio efektan. Osveta Rajnmara nad knezom Janom. Ogroman broj strana i puno dosadnih delova ali zaiskri poneki biser
May 5, 2023

Over het algemeen beviel dit verhaal me nog net iets meer dan het eerste boek. Waar het eerste boek eerder van gebeurtenis tot gebeurtenis leeft, krijg je hier één doorlopen verhaal met een groter doel. Het begint sterk en zoals in het eerste boek kom je terecht in een rijkgevulde wereld met vele personages en waar ieder personage zijn eigen agenda heeft. Verder voelt deze historische fictie realistisch en waargebeurd aan dankzij de vele details en achtergrond informatie die Sapkowski je aanrijkt, zoals de vele Latijnse spreuken en christelijke feestdagen (wat er blijkbaar veel zijn). Hoewel dit zeker zijn positieve invloed had op het verhaal, zorgde de vele details zoals bv. de vele namen van plaatsen, personen, en christelijke feestdagen ervoor dat ik tijdens sommige passages zeer aandachtig moest blijven om het verhaal goed te kunnen volgen. Dit maakte het soms wel vermoeiend waardoor ik heel af en toe uit het verhaal geraakte.

De schrijfstijl was, zoals ik gewoon ben van Sapkowski, zeer levendig waardoor je volledig in het verhaal gezogen wordt (op de paar zeer gedetailleerde stukken na). Ook de personages komen opnieuw volledig tot leven door de realistische dialogen en de eigen uitgesproken persoonlijkheden. Van sceptische en sarcastische opmerkingen tot preken over moraliteit en gerechtigheid, ieder personage komt volledig tot zijn recht in dit verhaal.

Sapkowski weet het eerste boek in deze triologie van een waardige opvolger te voorzien en ik kijk al uit naar het derde en laatste boek.
Profile Image for Dzani.
1 review
February 1, 2021
Drugi tom Trylogii Husyckiej rozwija i pcha kolejne wątki znane z poprzedniej części. Powracają postacie, których niekoniecznie się spodziewamy. Tempo akcji jest nierówne, ale każdy zaangażowany w losy bohaterów na pewno znajdzie tu momenty, które będą trzymać go w napięciu. To wszystko składa się na Sapkowski bigos zabawnych dialogów i sytuacji, oraz całą galerią typowych dla tego autor charakterów: wszelkiej maści cwaniaków, oportunistów, szuj, służbistów, tajemniczych stworów, niepoprawnych romantyków i idealistów.
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