The Way Begins . . .
Sergei was three when the soldiers took him. At fifteen he fled into the wilderness, with nothing to cling to but the memories of a grandfather who called him Socrates and the promise of a gift buried near St. Petersburg. Thus begins The Journeys of Socrates -- an odyssey that forged the character of Sergei Ivanov, whose story would one day change the lives of millions of readers worldwide. This saga of courage and faith, of love and loss, reveals the arts of war and the path to peace. Ultimately, it speaks to the quest we all share for a meaningful life in a challenging world.
In his landmark 1980 novel, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Millman blended fact and fiction to tell the story of a young man whose life is transformed by his encounter with a mysterious sage named Socrates. In this intriguing follow-up, Socrates takes center stage. It's late 19th-century Russia, and young Sergei Ivanov has been drafted into training to become one of the czar's elite guards. When Sergei saves the life of a brutal fellow student, Dmitri Zakolyev, during a difficult training exercise, he knows this act has actually made him an enemy. Dmitri humiliated by his weakness, gets back at Sergei years later when he becomes part of a pogrom to hunt down Jews; during a chance encounter, Dmitri wounds Sergei, who is part Jewish, and kills his pregnant wife, Anya. After a suicide attempt that leads to a kind of vengeance-oriented enlightenment, Sergei studies with a series of masters to perfect his warrior skills. Millman's narration clips along, and he does a fine job with period flourishes. But the extended training chapters suffer from clich s of character and narrative, and dampen the suspense. A shocking surprise about the fate of Sergei's unborn child and a ham-fisted meeting between Sergei and his rival strain credibility, but Millman's fluid storytelling makes this an easy read.
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What an ending to the series!