A magnificent and sweeping epic, Against a Crimson Sky is an unforgettable tale of love, secrets, valor, and the enduring strength of the human spirit, set against the extraordinary 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 Poland at the hands of its enemies who feared its democratic Third of May Constitution.
When Anna returns to her family estate, she is reunited with her long lost love, the handsome and proud Lord Jan Stelnicki. The two young lovers are united in marriage even as their beloved Poland is ripped apart. As the couple struggles to raise a family in the face of an uncertain future, Anna's conniving cousin, Zofia, returns with a surprise of her own. Although Zofia's past schemes still resonate, Anna's doubts turn to fear as Jan is drawn to the battlefield by his patriotic fervor.
Offering new hope for a divided and conquered Poland, the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte comes calling, pleading for Polish money and soldiers to fight the very countries that have wiped Poland from the map. While many Poles place their fervent faith in Napoleon, believing he will return to them an independent Poland, others doubt his commitment, seeing only a vain and pompous man out for personal glory. With the aid of new Polish legions--Anna's friends and family among them--Napoleon battles his way across Europe in an effort that culminates in the doomed 1812 winter march into Russia.
Against this backdrop and entwined with riveting historical characters such as Poland's King Stanislaw Poniatowski, Russia's Tsar Aleksandr, and the legendary Napoleon, the dramatic romance of Anna and Jan unfolds as they valiantly fight to hold on to a tenuous happiness, their country, and their very lives. Vibrant, exhilarating, and brimming with fascinating historical detail, Against a Crimson Sky will touch the heart and inspire the soul.
"Entertaining...fans of historical romance will find much to enjoy in this sprawling epic." -Publishers Weekly
"With Napoleon Bonaparte's ill-fated campaign to conquer Russia as a backdrop, Against a Crimson Sky manages to turn the wily emperor's exploitation of Polish patriotism into a classic read that lovers of Push Not the River will devour. James Conroyd Martin brings back the characters that made his first novel so compelling, deftly weaving their daily lives into the panorama of war and turmoil that consumed Poland in the early nineteenth century. He portrays a world of hardship and heart in marvelously rendered 'little pieces of happiness stolen from a tapestry of turmoil, war, and separation.'" --Leonard Kniffel, Editor-in-chief of American Libraries and author of A Polish Son in the Motherland: An American's Journey Home
"Readers will revel in this engrossing tale of courage, family loyalty, and the Polish nation." --Historical Novels Review
"James Conroyd Martin is in every way a modern day Henryk Sienkiewicz, weaving history and stories together in an accessible and thrilling manner." Dr. Donald Pienkos, Political Science Professor Emeritas, UWMilwaukee