Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Trumpeter Of Krakow

I found The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P Kelly a very interesting and creative book. The book is set in Poland in the fifteenth century. It is a story of a family on the run from the Ukraine to guard an ancient possession which is the ancient great tarnov crystal. This is very valuable and sought by many and the only person that the family would willingly give it up for is the king of Poland. The family settles in the town of Krakow and the father of the family takes on a job as the trumpeter for the church of Our Lady Mary to play a tune every hour, and to be the lookout for the town against fires and foreign invasions. Their secret is soon discovered about the whereabouts of the crystal and there are many attempts to steal it. The crystal is soon afterwards taken to the king for it's safety and protection.
I really liked the storyline. It goes from one adventure to another and leaves you wanting more. Not only does it have adventure but it describes somewhat how people acted and thought during that time (I'll have to admit that I had no idea what an alchemist was.) The author wrote also of what the town of Krakow is like and some geographical features of it. It only took me a couple of days to read this book because I could not put it down.
Along with the good story it also teaches of some great moral lessons and patriotism to ones country.
From its fast paced story to it's dramatic ending there is something to enjoy. I think that most children would really like reading this book because it is interesting and they could learn something from it. I don't know if this book is based on a true story or not but the way it was written kind of led me to believe it was, although I searched the king Kazimir Jagiello on the internet and in some books but did not come up with anything. If anyone has any information on this I would be really interested in knowing.


Chain Reader said...

I really liked this one too. I looked up the title on Wikipedia which mentions that it is a fictional story centered around a historical fire in Krakow in 1462.

Anonymous said...

Kelly didn't yet speak Polish very well when he wrote that book (although he became proficient later). He was working for the English department of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow when he started writing the book. His letters home to his mother in the United States are in the Dartmouth Library and mention his early ideas for the novel. His description of Krakow's historical geography (in both time periods) is really quite accurate, but most of the story is completely made up (although the bits about the Tenczynski family problems and the fire are real historical events). Kelly's Polish students liked his story about the trumpeter (and Kelly's new explanation for why he suddenly stops playing) so much that they wrote Polish stories that referenced it and it is now 'traditional' in Krakow.

josh said...

Thank you both very much for this information. It cleared up what I was wondering. I thought it was a true story while reading it. It was a really creative story though. Thanks

Anonymous said...

The king is a historical person. his name in Polish is Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk.