A Gentleman and a Rogue

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review Tuesday: The Boy Who Wanted Wings by James Conroyd Martin #bookreview



Book Review for: The Boy Who Wanted Wings
Written by: James Conroyd Martin
Published by: Hussar Quill Press
ISBN: 978-0-9978945-0-9

I read: ARC PDF. This ARC was given to me in exchange for
a fair and honest review.

4 Stars

Engaging and Full of Intrigue

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.

Overall, “The Boy Who Wanted Wings,” is a story that will
keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens
next. While most historical fiction novels tend to be placed
in an English setting, I find Martin unique in that he looks
at history through Polish eyes.  I highly recommend this
story for readers 13 years and older.

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