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The Lion of Janina by Mór Jókai

MAURUS JOKAI

THE LION OF JANINA OR THE LAST DAYS OF THE JANISSARIES

A Turkish Novel

TRANSLATED BY R. NISBET BAIN

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON 1898

BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

THE GREEN BOOK; or, Freedom Under the Snow. A Novel. Translated by Mrs. Waugh. 16mo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 50. (In "The Odd Number Series.")

BLACK DIAMONDS. A Novel. Translated by Frances A. Gerard. With a Photogravure Portrait of the Author. 16mo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 50. (In "The Odd Number Series.")

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK AND LONDON.

Copyright, 1897, by Harper & Brothers.

All rights reserved.

THE LION OF JANINA

PREFACE

The first edition of _Janicsarok vegnapjai_ appeared forty-five years ago. It was immediately preceded by the great historical romance, _Erdely aranykora_ (_The Golden Age of Transylvania_), and the still more famous novel of manners, _Egy Magyar Nabob_ (_A Hungarian Nabob_), which Hungarians regard as, indisputably, Jokai's masterpiece, while only a few months separate it from _Karpathy Zoltan_ (_Sultan Karpathy_), the brilliant sequel to the _Nabob_. Thus it belongs to the author's best literary period.

It is also one of the most striking specimens of that peculiar group of Turkish stories, such as _Toeroekvilag Magyarorszagon_ (_Turkey in Hungary_) and _Toeroek mozgolmak_ (_Turkish Incursions_), _A ketszarvu ember_ (_The Man with the Antlers_), and the extremely popular _Feher rozsa_ (_White Rose_), which form a genre apart of Jokai's own creation, in which his exuberant imagination revels in the rich colors of the gorgeous East, as in its proper element, while his ever alert humor makes the most of the sharp and strange contrasts of Oriental life and society. The hero of the strange and terrible drama, or, rather, series of dramas, unfolded with such spirit, skill, and vividness in _Janicsarok vegnapjai_, is Ali Pasha of Janina, certainly one of the most brilliant, picturesque, and, it must be added, capable ruffians that even Turkish history can produce. Manifold and monstrous as were Ali's crimes, his astonishing ability and splendid courage lend a sort of savage sublimity even to his blood-stained career, and, indeed, the dogged valor with which the octogenarian warrior defended himself at the last in his stronghold against the whole might of the Ottoman Empire is almost without a parallel in history.

With such a hero, it is evident that the book must abound in stirring and even tremendous scenes; but, though primarily a novel of incident, it contains not a few fine studies of Oriental character, both Turkish and Greek, by an absolutely impartial observer, who can detect the worth of the Osmanli in the midst of his apathy and brutality, and who, although sympathetically inclined towards the Hellenes, is by no means blind to their craft and double-dealing, happily satirized in the comic character of Leonidas Argyrocantharides.


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