With Fire and Sword Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henryk Sienkiewicz

First published: Ogniem I mieczem, 1884 (English translation, 1890)

Genre: Novel

Locale: Poland and the Ukraine

Plot: Historical

Time: Seventeenth century

Pan Yan Skshetuski (sksheh-TEW-skih), a young lieutenant and the valiant hero of this romance dramatizing the seventeenth century struggle for Polish unity. Courageous, loyal to his prince, magnanimous to his defeated enemy, and faithful to his beloved, Pan Yan is a conventional heroic figure.

Princess Helena Kurtsevich (kewrt-TSEH-vihch), his beloved. In love with Pan Yan but constantly pursued by a jealous lover, she is alternately a captive and a fugitive from capture. Ultimately, she is saved by Pan Yan's followers.

Princess Kurtsevich, the widow of Prince Constantine Kurtsevich. She is the mother of five sons and the aunt of Helena, whose estate is in her hands. She promises to help Pan Yan with Helena if he will not interfere with the ownership of the estate.

Bogun (BOH-gewn), Princess Kurtsevich's adopted sixth son and an aspirant for Helena's hand. Learning of the princess' plan to help Pan Yan with Helena, he kills her and two of her sons, burns the estate, and pursues Helena relentlessly. At last, he is captured and turned over to Pan Yan, who generously spares his life.

Prince Yeremi Vishnyevetski (yeh-REH-mih vihsh-nyehVEHTS-skih), a Polish national hero and Pan Yan's general. He engages in a long struggle against the marauding Cossacks and is finally victorious.

Hmelnitski (khmehl-NIHTS-skih), the hetman of the Zaporojian Cossacks. Assisted as an unknown traveler by Pan Yan, he pledges friendship to him; afterward, he has occasion to save Pan Yan's life. He plays a double game against Prince Yeremi by seeming to hold the truce while some of his followers oppose the prince. Finally, the prince defeats him in a heroic stand.

Tugai Bey (TEW-gay bay), the hetman of the Tartars and an ally of Hmelnitski, who persuades him not to order the death of the captured Pan Yan.

Zagloba (zah-GLOH-bah), a jovial and kindhearted nobleman. At first he is Bogun's ally, but he turns against him and rescues Helena.

Horpyna (khohr-PEW-nah), a witch who holds Helena captive.

Jendzian (YEHN-dzyan), Pan Yan's faithful servant, who learns that Helena is Horpyna's captive and assists in her rescue.

Prince Karl, a disputant in the election for king. He finally withdraws in favor of Prince Kazimir.

Prince Kazimir (kah-ZEE-mihr), later King Kazimir.

Prince Dominik Zaslavski Ostrogski (zahs-LAHV-skih ohs-TROHG-skih), the commander in chief of the Commonwealth armies.

Pan Kisel (KIH-sehl), the leader of the government faction that wishes to negotiate with Hmelnitski.

Pototski (poh-TOT-skih), a leader of the armies of the king.

Categories: Characters