The Boy Who Wanted Wingsby James Conroyd Martin
The FIRST 9/11 attack actually occurred at Vienna on
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GOLD MEDAL WINNER in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, the IPPYs. The organization is the world's largest book awards competition. The novel, winning in the Military/wartime category, is both a love and war story that culminates in one of the most crucial and consequential battles in history.
The FIRST 9/11 attack actually occurred at Vienna on September 11-12 in 1683 when the Ottoman Empire stood poised at the gateway to Christian Europe with the intention of forcing Islam on the entire continent. After a months-long assault, the Turks were just hours away from bringing down the weakening citadel and imposing jihad.
Aleksy, a dark-complexioned 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.
"Characters are complex, well developed, and consistent. Their emotional lives are exposed even as the horrors of war loom. The Boy Who Wanted Wings is an excellent read whether one's preferred genre is historical fiction or not."
~PORTLAND BOOK REVIEW
"History comes alive in this captivating saga of a desperate war to stave off conquest and extermination. A young man with dreams of greatness is swept up amid the deadly clash, but will he have to sacrifice love itself to become an elite defender of his homeland? The Boy Who Wanted Wings is a powerful, emotionally moving story, Highly recommended.
~MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
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- Hussar Quill Press
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- 3 MB
Meet the Author
James Conroyd Martin is the award-winning author of PUSH NOT THE RIVER, a novel based on the diary of a countess in 1790s Poland; AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY, which continues the family saga into the Napoleonic era; and The WARSAW CONSPIRACY, detailing the young Polish cadets' rising against the mighty Russia. HOLOGRAM: A HAUNTING is based on a house in which he lived. He holds degrees from St. Ambrose and DePaul universities. After teaching English and Creative Writing for many years in the Chicago area, he has moved to Portland, Oregon, where he continues to write. Sign up for an occasional announcement at
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Martin pens an engaging story full of intrigue with “The Boy Who Wanted Wings.” Set in 1683, an Ottoman/Turkish invasion force has surrounded Vienna, intent on bringing Islam to a Christian Europe. If Vienna falls, so falls Europe. Nations band together to repel the threat. King Jan Sobieski III of Poland gathers his Hussars and Army to join the fight. According to Martin’s historical note, this event was a pivotal one in European history. “The Boy Who Wanted Wings” is told through the fictional lens of Aleksy Gazdecki, a polish peasant who longs to be a Hussar. Though of Tatar origins, Aleksy was raised Polish and Christian. He’s fashioned his own lance and is a good archer. The local nobleman’s sons, Roman and Marek, are Hussars, planning to join King Jan as he marches on Vienna. When Aleksy meets Krystyna Halicki, Roman and Marek’s sister, sparks fly much to the brothers’ disapproval. Aleksy gets his wish to go to war as a retainer for Marek, however he has to deal with Roman’s ire. Will the Polish army help to defeat the Grand Vizar who holds Vienna hostage? Can Krystyna and Aleksy find a way to be together despite his lack of a title and the war that threatens to tear them apart? Martin’s writing is easy to read and understand. The plot and pacing are well balanced. The characterization is spot on. Aleksy is honorable and decent despite the hardships he has to face. Krystyna is spirited and independent, which will appeal to the modern reader. The immediate threat of the Ottman invasion is one readers will connect to as even in modern times, there are struggles with insurgent Islamic forces. One of the reader’s questions asks if Roman’s change of heart in the end is genuine. This is a big change for Roman and for me it doesn’t ring true, as he’s been duplicitous throughout the novel. Roman is the character the readers love to hate. He does have some redeeming qualities, though he is awkward in how he presents them.