||June 11, 2010
Set in the high, craggy mountains of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece, a tale of young Giorgi's quest for revenge ensues when secret agents of the Turkish Ottoman Sultans Janissary Corps murder Giorgi's parents during the Greek War of Independence 1821-1829.
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The Ottoman Turkish Empire occupied Greece from 1453 to 1829. Agents of the sultan's elite Janissary Corps murder Giorgi's parents. Seeking revenge, he joins the outlawed Greek freedom fighters. A tale of his revenge ensures. The setting for this historical novel, 1790-1829, takes places in the high, rugged mountains of the Peloponnese peninsular of Southern Greece. Ensconced in deep caves, the fighters live and train to battle the Turks. Far below in the valleys, overtaxed and overworked peasants toil in the fields. A tale of three generations of a family and of the cruel treatment inflicted upon them by the Turks. Love of family, love between a man and woman, and love of country are recurring themes in this poignant story.
A Letter Arrives
You probably will find this hard to believe, Yianni, but I am tired of war. I'm sick and tired of it all, and I no longer enjoy killing a Turk. I just want this long bad dream to end. After our last battle, I was returning to my unit, walking over bodies, when I heard someone groaning. It was almost nightfall and the air was full of smoke, making it difficult to see. I looked around until I traced the moaning to a small figure. I thought he was one of us. He was lying on the ground, his clothes covered with blood and mostly in shreds. His face was on the ground and his right arm was twisted around his back. It was clear he was in terrible pain. I gently turned him over on his left side and saw his face. He was just a boy, Yianni, not much older than fifteen or sixteen. The same age we were when we left home. I tried talking to him, when I realized he was a Turk.
I almost shot him, but I couldn't do it. His terrified eyes kept looking at me, pleading in silence. At first, I thought he was pleading for his life, but then I realized he wanted me to put him out of his misery. I saw that his twisted arm was out of its socket, and without thinking, I quickly yanked it back into place. He let out such a scream that I jumped. The pain must have subsided, because he seemeed to be thanking me with his eyes. He smiled, and then he died. His open eyes stared into the heavens. I closed them, but I still can't get that smile out of my mind.
An entertaining and touching read.
The fight for freedom and independence spread across the globe during the nineteenth century. "Giorgi's Greek Tragedy" tells the story of a particular Greek who takes up the call for freedom fighting and seeks to battle against the Ottoman Turks. A story of love, war, and family, "Giorgi's Greek Tragedy" is an entertaining and touching read, that should prove hard to put down.
Liberty or Death
The plot in Giorgi's Greek Tragedy takes place during an important part of modern Greek history. The author must be a phihellene to write such a beautiful novel. The events take place in the Peloponnese, also called Morea, which is a peninsula and forms the southern part of Greece. The setting of the novel is a Greece under occupation by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) for some 400 years. A cruel occupation for the Greeks who lived there.
Pauline Hager focuses on a family to weave a story that is humane, tragic, tearful, sensitive and real. Parents who are killed in cold blood by the Turkish authorities, daughter who is taken to a harem, and a son who is taken to become a special soldier for the Turkish leader. Two sons, Giorgi and Yianni survive and leave their village to join the kleftes (rebels) in the mountains. Their life stories are told: Giorgi fights the occupiers and Yianni becomes a priest. Each following their instincts and what is most important to each of them.
The author writes in a very clear style which held this reader's attention. One can learn from this novel, for example, how the human spirit can rise above a tragic situation in the face of adversity. It also makes clear that Greeks, where-ever they live, annually celebrate on March 25th the revolution that gave them back their freedom and their self-esteem.
Not only a pleasure to read, but also a wonderful history lesson.
To take a period in history and weave it into a fictional account of the survival of a family through three generations of their struggles and successes and stil create an interesting and exciting page turner is not an easy feat. However, to Pauline Hager it is like second nature in Giorgi's Greek Tragedy as she tells us the story of Giorgi Papakalos and his family and their lives in the beautiful mountains of the Peloponnese region of Greece during the final years of the Ottoman Turks' occupation of Greece.
So many periods in history such as World War l and World War ll, the Holocaust, Slavery, and the Russian Revolution, to name a few, have been written about in abundance and depicted in movies, but I found this riveting account of Greece's struggle for independence to be very refreshing because it was a period in history that I was not at all familiar with. It became not only a pleasurable read but also a history lesson that kept me engrossed in the story from start to finish and left me fascinated and yet deeply disturbed and thoughtful. However, the historical aspect of the story was not overwhelming becuase it was chronicled in an easy to understand way with a nice mixture of the history lessons and the personal stories of the characters.
I am extremely impressed by this first novel from Pauline Hagers, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys epic historical novels. You will not be disappointed, and I personally look forward to Hager's future work.
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