Tatra Eagle, The

Tatra Eagle, The

A young Polish highlander is adopted by Polish knights and rides to Vienna, Austria, seat of the Holy Roman Empire, to participate in one of the most fateful events in European history - to break the Ottoman Turkish siege in 1683.


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As war in 1680s Europe rages below, Boleslaw Radok shepherds and hunts in the High Tatra Mountains of Poland. His father, like all able bodied men, is off at war and has neither trained his son in close combat nor left him a sword. Boleslaw is attacked by a wolf and limps home for bandaging, then barely survives a farm raid that kills his grandfather. Four Polish knights kill the brigands and then deliver Bole his fallen father s sword, the last wish of a dying comrade. Boleslaw struggles with two options: stay on the farm he cannot defend or follow his father s path to a life at war.

REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

There are those special moments in the life of any avid reader when one discovers a book or author out of the blue and from then on can't imagine never having read him before. For me, one such author was discovered at my grandparents' apartment in Brooklyn when I found a long forgotten book on the shelf in my Dad's old bedroom : Knight Of The Cross: A Story Of The Crusades by Frederick L. Coe. This stirring tale of a young Viking who is healed after a battle by a traveling holy man and whose life is then pledged to serving the new Christian religion managed to combine action and pedagogy in a way that most modern authors would hesitate at even attempting. I read it so many times as a kid that the dust jacket is long gone; the binding is cracked; and the cover is faded. When he was old enough I gave it my oldest son and he devoured it too. Then, twenty years later, W. S. Kuniczak began publishing new translations of the novels of a forgotten Nobel laureate, Henryk Sienkiewicz. Actually, not totally forgotten; his Quo Vadis? remained an all-time best-seller, in the manner of The Robe and Ben-Hur. But his cycle of Polish historical novels had long been out of print, owing in part to their awkward original translations by Jeremiah Curtin. In their newer versions they resembled nothing so much as the Star Wars movies, with a young hero joined by a trio of knights, including two who have to have influenced R2D2 and C3PO. Here again were tales of derring-do, patriotism and Christian faith. So when J. Victor Tomaszek wrote to us and offered his own novel, a conscious sequel to Sienkiewicz's On the Field of Glory, we snapped it up. Sienkiewicz had died before completing his story of the second Siege of Vienna, so Mr. Tomaszek finishes it for him. The story opens in the Tatra Mountains, where young Boleslaw Radok desperately tries to protect the family farm from wolves and raiders. His father is away fighting the King's wars and has not been able to train his son for combat. But he has been raised on stories of the glory of battle by his grandfather. When their village is attacked once again, grandfather is killed, but the brigands are defeated by the timely intervention of four knights. They have come seeking to fulfill the final request Boleslaw's fallen father, to deliver the elder's sword to the son. The four, of course, stay on to train the boy and then take him with them to join King Jan Sobieski's war to liberate Vienna from the siege of the Turks under Kara Mustafa. There, our heroes play a central role in the Battle of Vienna (1683), which saw Sobieski and an army of 80,000 defeat 130,000 Turks. Sobieski himself led the greatest cavalry charge in history and the tide was turned against Ottoman incursions into Europe. The author proves a worthy successor to the tradition of Sienkiewicz, Coe and others like Alfred Duggan (whose novels also captivated me as a boy). For not only does he give us a rousing tale of adventure, he also infuses the text with beautiful passages expressing love of Polish patriotism, liberty and democracy and Christian duty. It is a novel that is just as edifying as it is exciting, a real Boys' Own throwback. (Reviewed:23-Dec-15) Grade: (A) ~ Judd Brothers, http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1869

This review is based upon the Kindle version, which might have booboos not found in the hardcopy version. At the outset, this novel merits a good publishing house, such as, Hippocrene Books, Inc., and deserves to be on everyone's bookshelf as a classic. It was written in the customary manner of Henryk Sienkiewicz, Adam Mickiewicz, and Alexander Dumas. Tomaszek threw in everything one needs to know about Polish history, culture, and tradition. The book has fables, legends, folk tales, and songs. There are gypsies, werewolves, ruthless brigands, a defrocked priest, and protectors of the common people. Without doubt this is one of the best novels of historical fiction dealing with the subject of Poland since Eric Philbrook Kelly wrote his trilogy (The Trumpeter of Krakow, The Blacksmith of Vilno, and The Golden Star of Halicz). There are printing issues with the text that a good editor can clean up, such as, Polish words and syntax errors. The diacritical marks, e.g., are in need of a major overhaul. There are three in the Polish language: kropka (dot), kreska (slash), and wezyk (little snake). In some cases within the text, there are marks used, but for the most part, none. Plynie Wisla, e.g., should have a kreska through the "l" in each word to give it the "w" sound in English. Then there are phrases just butchered: psia krew cholera (dog's blood, sickness/cholera). His version of this common Polish oath might be an attempt at dialect, but who knows? In another case, a Polish folk song is left untranslated. Tomaszek refers to the character Priest as a captain, but uses the Polish word pulkownik. A captain, in fact, is a rotmistrz (rotamaster). A captain commanded a choragiew (troop or company); a pulkownik commanded a pulk (regiment). He also used an old Anglicized rendition of the city name for Krakow (Cracow) and it didn't fit well when he described how the city was named after its legendary founder King Krak. The Vistula River is actually the Wisla (kreska through the "l"). Finally, there are paragraph wraps and the thoughts of characters expressed in normal type that would be better italicized. All this said, the story is exceptional and I congratulate the author for accomplishing such a work. ~ Donald F. Kaminski, Amazon

Worthy of the pen of a Arturo Pérez Reverte, one should think of comparing Tomaszek's book with the work of the greatest novelists. We are blessed today to have a clutch of novelists like J. Victor Tomaszek. He is the master of every aspect of his epic novel which reads like a seamless work of 17th century history. Lovers of endless adventure and history will find much to enjoy here. ~ Miltiades Varvounis, author and historian

Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email The Tatra Eagle (2012) Author Info: J. Victor Tomaszek - There are those special moments in the life of any avid reader when one discovers a book or author out of the blue and from then on can't imagine never having read him before. For me, one such author was discovered at my grandparents' apartment in Brooklyn when I found a long forgotten book on the shelf in my Dad's old bedroom : Knight Of The Cross: A Story Of The Crusades by Frederick L. Coe. This stirring tale of a young Viking who is healed after a battle by a traveling holy man and whose life is then pledged to serving the new Christian religion managed to combine action and pedagogy in a way that most modern authors would hesitate at even attempting. I read it so many times as a kid that the dust jacket is long gone; the binding is cracked; and the cover is faded. When he was old enough I gave it my oldest son and he devoured it too. Then, twenty years later, W. S. Kuniczak began publishing new translations of the novels of a forgotten Nobel laureate, Henryk Sienkiewicz. Actually, not totally forgotten; his Quo Vadis? remained an all-time best-seller, in the manner of The Robe and Ben-Hur. But his cycle of Polish historical novels had long been out of print, owing in part to their awkward original translations by Jeremiah Curtin. In their newer versions they resembled nothing so much as the Star Wars movies, with a young hero joined by a trio of knights, including two who have to have influenced R2D2 and C3PO. Here again were tales of derring-do, patriotism and Christian faith. So when J. Victor Tomaszek wrote to us and offered his own novel, a conscious sequel to Sienkiewicz's On the Field of Glory, we snapped it up. Sienkiewicz had died before completing his story of the second Siege of Vienna, so Mr. Tomaszek finishes it for him. The story opens in the Tatra Mountains, where young Boleslaw Radok desperately tries to protect the family farm from wolves and raiders. His father is away fighting the King's wars and has not been able to train his son for combat. But he has been raised on stories of the glory of battle by his grandfather. When their village is attacked once again, grandfather is killed, but the brigands are defeated by the timely intervention of four knights. They have come seeking to fulfill the final request Boleslaw's fallen father, to deliver the elder's sword to the son. The four, of course, stay on to train the boy and then take him with them to join King Jan Sobieski's war to liberate Vienna from the siege of the Turks under Kara Mustafa. There, our heroes play a central role in the Battle of Vienna (1683), which saw Sobieski and an army of 80,000 defeat 130,000 Turks. Sobieski himself led the greatest cavalry charge in history and the tide was turned against Ottoman incursions into Europe. The author proves a worthy successor to the tradition of Sienkiewicz, Coe and others like Alfred Duggan (whose novels also captivated me as a boy). For not only does he give us a rousing tale of adventure, he also infuses the text with beautiful passages expressing love of Polish patriotism, liberty and democracy and Christian duty. It is a novel that is just as edifying as it is exciting, a real Boys' Own throwback. (Reviewed:23-Dec-14) ~ Orrin Judd, http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1869/The%20Tatra%20Ea.htm

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. Victor Tomaszek
J. Victor Tomaszek J. Victor Tomaszek is a former amateur operatic tenor, Viet Nam era airborne firefighter and now raises alpacas in the Chicago suburbs. Mr. ...
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