“The Warsaw Conspiracy” by James Conroyd Martin is a riveting tale of Poland’s fight for independence from the Russians after the Napoleonic years. The story takes place from 1830 – 1831 and is set against the November Rising of 1931.
Anna, the mother of Michal and Josef has already lost a son to war and does everything in her power to keep her youngest, Josef, from the military. However he is impassioned to fight for an independent Poland and joins the cadets. Michal, the much older son, fought beside his brother in the Napoleonic wars and watched him die. He is content to manage the family affairs, while the father Jan is imprisoned in Siberia. Iza, daughter of Anna’s cousin, Zofia, has left the convent and is trying to assimilate back into normal society. Barbara, Anna’s daughter, is married to a Russian that the rest of the family distrusts but tolerates for her sake. As the unrest deepens and rumors of an uprising start stirring through Warsaw the lives of the family members are turned upside down by struggle, battles, fear and heartbreak. Through it all love blossoms and the family is there for each other.
Martin has created fully dimensional characters that you will care about (or hate) as the case may be. I enjoyed the historical nature of the book as I hadn’t really been aware of the November Uprising prior to reading it. I’m always happy to learn something new when I read. The writing flowed beautifully and I found myself very reluctant to put the book down. I highly recommend it.