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The Sabres of Paradise: Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus

The Sabres of Paradise: Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus - Lesley Blanch

The Sabres of Paradise: Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus


The definitive, epic biography of the Muslim chieftain Imam Shamyl, the 'Lion of Daghestan', THE SABRES OF PARADISE took six years to complete, with research done in Russia and the Caucasus, including tracing his descendants in Turkey and Egypt. ― THE SABRES OF PARADISE is the story of two worlds (two faiths, two societies, two continents) brought into sudden juxtaposition. During the Caucasian Wars of Independence, the warring mountain tribes of Daghestan and Chechnya united under the charismatic leadership of Imam Shamyl, strengthened only by the desire for an independent Caucasus and their religious faith. ― For years Imam Shamyl defied his enemy, Tsar Nicholas I, who had taken his eldest son as a hostage to St Petersburg. The Muslim chieftain captured in turn two Georgian princesses (from the Tzarina's entourage), a French governess, and the children, and kept them in his harem until they could be exchanged for his son. ― A universal saga, it is also a history of late 19th century Imperialist Russian rule. The struggle of the people of the Caucasus to remain independent of Russia had a powerful influence on Tolstoy and Pushkin, and is disturbingly relevant to our world today.― It is set both in the Caucasus, a region of supreme natural beauty and mighty mountain ranges, and in St Petersburg, the most elegant and sophisticated of Russian cities.GUARDIAN: "Crammed with truly fabulous stories of fighting and love and violent death . . . this is a] profound and exhilarating book."PHILIP MARSDEN: "Like Tolstoy's, Lesley Blanch's sense of history is ultimately convincing not because of any sweeping theses, but because of its particularities, the quirks of individuals and their personal narratives, their deluded ambitions, their vanities and passions."HAMISH BOWLES in JACQUELINE KENNEDY: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS: "Jacqueline Kennedy and Khrushchev maintained a spirited badinage through dinner. Mrs Kennedy had recently read THE SABRES OF PARADISE, Lesley Blanch's dashing history of the Muslim tribes' resistance to Russian expansionism in the Caucasus, and attempted to engage the Soviet premier in conversation on the subject. He responded with the comparative numbers of teachers per capita in the Soviet and Czarist Ukraine. She cut him off with the playful riposte, "Oh, Mr Chairman, don't bore me with statistics." BRIAN ALDISS: "A book as thick with flavour as roast wild boar, tusks and all. One of the most nutritious books I have ever read."
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The definitive, epic biography of the Muslim chieftain Imam Shamyl, the 'Lion of Daghestan', THE SABRES OF PARADISE took six years to complete, with research done in Russia and the Caucasus, including tracing his descendants in Turkey and Egypt. ― THE SABRES OF PARADISE is the story of two worlds (two faiths, two societies, two continents) brought into sudden juxtaposition. During the Caucasian Wars of Independence, the warring mountain tribes of Daghestan and Chechnya united under the charismatic leadership of Imam Shamyl, strengthened only by the desire for an independent Caucasus and their religious faith. ― For years Imam Shamyl defied his enemy, Tsar Nicholas I, who had taken his eldest son as a hostage to St Petersburg. The Muslim chieftain captured in turn two Georgian princesses (from the Tzarina's entourage), a French governess, and the children, and kept them in his harem until they could be exchanged for his son. ― A universal saga, it is also a history of late 19th century Imperialist Russian rule. The struggle of the people of the Caucasus to remain independent of Russia had a powerful influence on Tolstoy and Pushkin, and is disturbingly relevant to our world today.― It is set both in the Caucasus, a region of supreme natural beauty and mighty mountain ranges, and in St Petersburg, the most elegant and sophisticated of Russian cities.GUARDIAN: "Crammed with truly fabulous stories of fighting and love and violent death . . . this is a] profound and exhilarating book."PHILIP MARSDEN: "Like Tolstoy's, Lesley Blanch's sense of history is ultimately convincing not because of any sweeping theses, but because of its particularities, the quirks of individuals and their personal narratives, their deluded ambitions, their vanities and passions."HAMISH BOWLES in JACQUELINE KENNEDY: THE WHITE HOUSE YEARS: "Jacqueline Kennedy and Khrushchev maintained a spirited badinage through dinner. Mrs Kennedy had recently read THE SABRES OF PARADISE, Lesley Blanch's dashing history of the Muslim tribes' resistance to Russian expansionism in the Caucasus, and attempted to engage the Soviet premier in conversation on the subject. He responded with the comparative numbers of teachers per capita in the Soviet and Czarist Ukraine. She cut him off with the playful riposte, "Oh, Mr Chairman, don't bore me with statistics." BRIAN ALDISS: "A book as thick with flavour as roast wild boar, tusks and all. One of the most nutritious books I have ever read."
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