8-th of July 1807, the town of Tylża. After 12 years of being partitioned, Poland returns to the map of Europe. Of the former superpower stretching from sea to sea, a small duchy is born. Its area is only 104 thousand km2. However, it hopes for a resurrection of the old power. A guarantor of everything is He - the invincible Emperor of the French - Napoleon Bonaparte. At this historical moment he defeated Prussia, forced Russia to accept an alliance on his conditions. In two years he will trample Austria. Then his power will reach the zenith. He will marry into one of Europe's oldest families and have his successor. There will be only two major military forces left on the old continent and two leaders: the Emperor of the French and the Tsar of Russia.
Year 1811 - between two the most powerful people in Europe begins a war of nerves, a diplomatic war, an exchange of correspondence full of regrets, a nervous hustle of ambassadors. The powers secretly arm themselves. Russia is reforming its army and strengthening fortifications on the border with the Duchy of Warsaw. Neither Napoleon is idle. He reorganizes the army and slowly moves his forces closer to the border with the former ally. It's time of agreements and conspiracies, falsehoods, hypocrisy and bribery. Time of secret spy missions and secret negotiations.
Under these circumstances begins the action of "Cor igni. Battle of hearts". It is the end of 1811. The action takes place in the Duchy of Warsaw, which is now on the centre of attention of the European powers. Fighting at Napoleon side, the Poles proved that they were a valiant nation. At the moment of the attack on Russia (1812) Polish soldiers were the second largest military forces in the Great Army after the French. They were led by their beloved leader - prince Joseph Poniatowski. The Polish military proved their bravery in Spain, San Domingo, defended their small country during the invasion of a much larger Austrian army in 1809. No wonder that before the war with Napoleon, Tsar Alexander tried to drag the Poles to his side.
In my novel I try to reflect the reality of the epoch: the hopes and expectations of the Polish related to the recovery of the homeland within the old borders, the climate of a permanent war in which Europe was involved for over a dozen years, and diplomatic and spy actions taking place in the backstreets of a conflict between France and Russia. It is also the life of Warsaw salons, intrigues as in Jane Austen novels. I tried to paint the world as best as possible, reproducing the enchanting atmosphere and charm of that time.
The novel is multi-layered. There are many characters mainly from the military and aristocratic communities of Warsaw of that time. Nevertheless, I focus on three main characters, each representing a different point of view.
The first example is one of the main characters - Roger de Lavuasieur - a French hussar, of noble birth working on secret diplomatic missions in peacetime, in 1811 seconded to detached to service in the Duchy of Warsaw. His deeds are a result of self-awareness and an effort to find himself in a constantly changing reality: a revolutionary, post revolutionary, imperial. None of them offered him peace of mind, stabilization, not allowed to root. He is not a man of a crystal character. He is pragmatic, tries to survive and makes of a great international game to suit his needs.
The second main character is Kazimierz Jastrzębski (a Polish lancer, born in an old aristocratic family) – a personification of a romantic hero guarding values such as honour, honesty and patriotism. He experienced the nightmare of the war in Spain. This experience left him with negative mental effects. After returning from the front, he tries to find himself and finds peace at the moment he meets a related soul - prince Joseph Poniatowski. Thanks to him, Jastrzębski can regain his faith in humanity after the trauma of the Iberian Peninsula war.
The main female character of the book is Gabriel Jastrzębska – the sister of Kazimierz. She embodies a joy of life and rebels against limitations. A young person, with difficult personality, plays an important role in Roger's life. Thanks to her de Lavuasieur transforms from a vain coquet, inconsiderate with feelings of others, into a serious man. At last he must decide who he wants to be. Instead Gabriel, thanks to her relationship with Roger (not always easy due to difficulty of reconcilable characters of both), goes over the real emotional university of life. She matures.
The novel is written in an accessible way. It consists of different elements: dramatic experiences and nostalgia which are mixed with humorous scenes. There is an emotional plot. A reader will also find elements typical to a thriller and many secrets to unravel.
I tried to present different perspectives of political situation and the figure of Napoleon, on the one hand - as an object of a widespread worship, on the other - a man, who for his own ambition sent thousands to death.
Historical knowledge about the epoch was pictured in an easy way. In order not to overload the content of the book, I refer to footnotes with the aim to gain an insight into historical figure, place or event.
The book presents a variety of emotions, but never brutal ones. For that reason, it is suitable for both more mature and younger readers.
The book is not released yet. The search process of a publisher is ongoing.