No book has caused so much fuss during the last decade than Tomas Clentsin's latest novel "The Eagle and the Sun". Last Saturday the Wenedyk translation of the book ("Jekła i Sul") made its entrance in the bookshops, and promptly a riot broke about in front of the Librarza Szczęciewka on the Parwija Kordynieża in Warsina. The fight between those who wanted to buy the book and those who preferred to burn it instead could not be stopped without the personal interference of culture minister Parydżanka, whose ministry is located less than half a stadz from the scene.
Amidst the heated discussions about the book, the redaction of WW has asked me to write an objective review, a task I will fulfill proudly and gratefully.
To begin with the only positive thing that can be said about the book: it is influential. Even the highest-ranking politicians in the Russian Federation appear to have read it, and a strong candidate for the presidency in Muscovy, NDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, even quotes it regularly in his campaign to show what will happen when the Russians "continue voting for the same spineless and grossly incompetent people they have been electing thus far." Well, the bit about the condominium area in East Primorye being attacked and annexed by an aggressive Japanese army is indeed quite funny and well-written, although the emperor's recent resignation has already proven it pointless.
Had Mr. Clentsin left it at that, the book - despite its being insignificant and unrealistic - could have provided its audience with a reasonably good read. But unfortunately, he couldn't withstand the temptation to include the Republic of the Two Crowns in his war game. And that is precisely where he went wrong.
Despite his Venedic roots, Mr. Clentsin (a pseudonym he uses to conceal his real name, Tomasz Klęcin) is an ardent venedophobe. Whether these sentiments are the result of a suppressed hatred against his authoritarian father (a Vened who emigrated to the NAL-SLC in the 1930s) or not, I dare not say. But it is obvious that he still has a score to settle with our Republic. And thus, he has it invaded by some insane Prussian general, who in addition carries the name "Von Preimern", as if the Prussians had the remotest right to our Northern provinces. The character in itself clearly demonstrates Mr. Clentsin's bad taste, as it appears to be nothing but a clownesque parody on Adolf Hessler himself.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Clentsin (whose theories on military tactics are renowned as the worst of any writer in the genre), completely loses contact with reality when he writes that Von Preimern and his 7th Armored Panzer Behälterabteilung "secured Siodawa and Siora within an hour", upon which he and his company happily plowed on to Łódź and Danzig. Mr. Clentsin seems to believe that our Republic does not have any border control, and that its army is asleep most of the time. He is of course free to think that - we live in a free world after all - but should he therefore be allowed to disperse such views as if they were even faintly realistic?
All in all, this work is a mix of extremely bad taste, a complete lack of understanding of the real world, and another painful example of the author's shameless disregard for the tragedies of Venedic history. Interestingly, this book has a lot in common with the the work of a very gifted young Batavian author, whose name unfortunately escapes me. Despite the fact that many of the latter's assumptions (like the Veneds speaking "Polish", a Slavic language with Venedic sound changes; the Republic being fully incorporated by its neighbours in 1795; Russia becoming communist instead of snorist; a German-Japanese alliance in GW II) are unrealistic or outright ridiculous, he at least does not try to pull wool over the innocent reader's eyes by pretending that it is all true. And where he finally manages to give a good - albeit not always convincing - satire of our political life, Mr. Clentsin's quaint plagiarism is utterly beside the mark.
Buy it or burn it? Well, in my opinion any attention for this book is undeserved, and any dzienarz spent on it wasted. The best thing we can do is simply neglect it. And let us hope that Mr. Clentsin will finally grow up and decide to find himself a réal job.