The Chi-Rho Booksite presents the first 32 chapters of the online edition of With Fire and Sword, by Henryk Sienkiewicz.


Parents and teachers please see advisory below.

With Fire and Sword is an epic story of the struggles of the Polish Commonwealth in the 17th century, threaded with a love story of certain destiny. It was written by Polish author and historian Henryk Sienkiewicz. It's title in Polish is Ogniem i mieczem and it is the first book of a trilogy.

Sienkiewicz received the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in 1905 for his novel Quo Vadis, A Narrative of the Time of Nero, which is also available online.

This text of With Fire and Sword is from the first English translation by Jeremiah Curtin, who also translated Quo Vadis into English. This edition With Fire and Sword is out of print and difficult to find, but is available free here. There is a newer translation by W. S. Kuniczak available at most book stores.

With Fire and Sword was also made into a movie in Poland which has enjoyed great popularity there. This quote is from the movie website:

The Director's desire is that the film was a Polish-Ukrainian "Gone With the Wind" presenting human fates set against the tragic background of a domestic war. Jerzy Hoffman intends to make a film story about human passions - love, hatred, envy and greed for power. 

Certainly, the book well shows the passions, good and evil, which rule men. It beautifully displays the courage of doing what is noble at all costs, and graphically portrays the depths of depravity to which people can sink. The description of deeds of bravery are uplifting, those of barbaric brutality are shocking.

The menu to the left has chapter headings for the book, a link to a map of the Polish Commonwealth in PDF format (it is much more readable if printed out) and a link to a portrait of the author with his children. There are also links to the movie website and another website relating to the making of the movie. Both have pictures of some scenes from from the movie. (A word of caution: one picture is bloody). In these you can see the characters in period costumes.

Parent/Teacher advisory: Because this book is a historical novel, it recounts murders and executions that are brutal and, as mentioned above, even barbaric. It is not overly descriptive or gratuitous, but discretion should be used in determining the age appropriateness for your readers. Chapters that should be reviewed are 11, 14, and 16.