The Boy Who Wanted Wings
"A gripping, transporting story." ~Kirkus Reviews
Winner of a GOLD MEDAL "IPPY" by the Independent Publishers Book Awards
Aleksy, a Tatar raised by a Polish peasant family, nurtures dreams of becoming a Polish winged hussar and of pursuing the Countess Krystyna, both impossible quests. One day he must choose which dream to pursue. More
Aleksy, a Tatar raised by a Polish peasant family, holds in his heart the wish is to become a Polish hussar, a lancer who carries into battle a device attached to his back that holds dozens of eagle feathers. As a Tatar and as a peasant, this is an unlikely quest. When he meets Krystyna, the daughter of the noble who owns the land that his parents work, he falls hopelessly in love. But even though she returns his love, race and class differences make this quest as impossible as that of becoming a hussar. Under the most harrowing and unlikely circumstances, one day Aleksy must choose between his dreams.
"A poor archer in medieval Poland takes aim at the love of his life in this epic novel from Martin. The anxious Aleksy Gazdecki, a young farmhand, embodies the ethnic and political tensions of Europe during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. Born to a Tatar family, he was taken in by Poles and raised a Christian . . . The believability of this novel, which is sprinkled with period-specific details, is never in question. Martin sets the stage so tidily that the plight of Aleksy and Krystyna, who desire to move beyond the social classes that keep them apart, transcends the historical moment. Underneath the story of the sweethearts' labyrinthine struggle lingers the question of what it means to fight for one's country but against one's relatives-a situation in which Aleksy, as a Tatar, finds himself. Sprawling but never slow, the plot moves naturally from battle to intimacy and back again. A gripping, transporting story of self-determination set against fate." ~Kirkus Reviews
"Amidst class and religious warfare, this alternately romantic and brutal love story is also a reminder that the struggle between Christianity and Islam is a great deal older than 2001. Culminating in the re-creation of the Siege of Vienna in 1683, where monstrous killing was perpetrated in the name of God and power, this is a meticulously researched and convincingly written tale of love's triumph that will surprise historical fiction readers with its little known historical backdrop. In an ethnically diverse Poland that is now long gone, the main characters struggle with loyalties to family, race, and country as they come to understand that no fear or evil is unchangeable."
~Leonard Kniffel, Past Editor in chief of American Libraries; Director, Polish American Librarians Association
"Martin takes flight with this excellent historical... compelling characters... a fascinating time period and a story that will sweep you away."
~NYT Bestseller, M.J. Rose
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