cover image The Deluge

The Deluge

Henryk K. Sienkiewicz. Hippocrene Books, $60 (2pp) ISBN 978-0-87052-004-4

Surrounding himself with murderous libertines and wastrels, wild young Polish soldier Andrei Kmita is misled into treason. But his pure love for spirited Olenka (Aleksandra Billevich) eventually sets him on track and inspires his single-minded mission, the defense of his motherland. It's the middle of the 17th century, and the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth is crushed in a vise of rebellion and bloody onslaughts by Swedes and Russians. Around the constants of love and war, Polish novelist Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) weaves a fugue of betrayal, redemption, faith and passion. An underlying theme questions whether people can rise above their time and circumstances. In his massive novel, with its eerie foreshadowing of modern Poland's overthrow of the Soviet yoke, Sienkiewicz ( Quo Vadis? ) gives a resounding answer. His rounded characters represent all sectors of society in this, the second volume of a trilogy begun in With Fire and Sword. The convincing translation by Polish-born American novelist Kuniczak adds luster to a robust populist epic. (Oct.)