Push Not the River
John Stelnicki, a good friend of author James Conroyd Martin, had good reason to be interested in the genealogy of his Polish family. He possessed a diary that had been handed down within his family for 200 years. John’s translation of that historical diary from the Polish revealed the amazing story of his ancestor, Countess Anna Maria Berezowska, and led to the creation of Martin’s historical novel Push Not the River, which won a prestigious recommendation by BookSense, a network of 1200 independent booksellers. Subsequently, the sequel, Against a Crimson Sky, also won the recommendation of BookSense. And in 2007 Martin won a Gold Medal for literature from The American Institute of Polish Culture, an award few non-Poles have received. He is in the esteemed company of James Michener, one of the first recipients.
Anna started her diary at the age of seventeen when both her personal life and the political situation in Poland began to unravel in the 1790s. The novel balances and integrates Anna’s very personal odyssey with the rise and fall of Poland’s ill-fated Third of May Constitution (1791-1794), the first modern democratic constitution in Europe.
With the loss of her parents, Anna goes to live with her Aunt Stella, the personification of Poland’s invulnerable spirit, and Zofia, her beautiful but shape-shifting cousin. A new world is thrust upon her, one Warsaw’s wealthy nobility, castles, emperors, patriotism, and true love—but also one of violence, treachery, treason, revenge, and war. Vivid, romantic, and thrillingly paced, Push Not the River paints the emotional and unforgettable story of the metamorphosis of a nation—and of a proud and resilient young heroine. Numerous critics have likened the novel to Gone with the Wind and Doctor Zhivago.
Citing the successful Push Not the River as an archetypal saga that transcends ethnicity, St. Martin’s Press signed Martin to write a stand-alone sequel. Against a Crimson Sky allowed Martin to freely imagine how life may have continued to unfold for Anna among the fascinating people and events of the Napoléonic era.
Offering new hope for a conquered Poland, Napoléon Bonaparte comes calling in Warsaw, pleading for Polish money and soldiers to fight the very countries that have wiped Poland from the map. While many Poles place faith in him, believing he will return to them an independent Poland, others doubt his commitment, seeing only a man obsessed with personal glory. With the aid of new Polish legions—Anna’s friends and family among them—Napoléon battles his way across Europe in an effort that culminates in the doomed 1812 march into Russia.
Against this backdrop, Anna and her true love, Jan, valiantly fight to hold on to a tenuous happiness, their beloved Poland, and their very lives. Vibrant, exhilarating, and brimming with fascinating historical detail, Against a Crimson Sky will touch the heart and inspire the soul. *
The first novel, based on the unpublished diary of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska...
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NEW! The saga of Countess Anna Maria Berezowska continues with the sequel to Push Not the River...
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