Posted by: vikingsinspace | January 3, 2011

VI.01.44. Read King in Prussia

Date Accomplished: 28 Sept. 2010

King in Prussia: Hutchinson Edition

My Sabatini Journal

“His lordship conceived that the Prince invited comment, and politeness, at war with sincerity, prescribed that he supply it generously.” (9)

“He sought safety in a half-truth, which is the most formidable, because the most convincing, of all lies.” (10)

“…if a common friend makes a bond between men, a common enemy makes a vastly stronger one.” (29)

“A casuistical mind can persuade itself of anything.” (68)

“I prefer to put my faith in man’s interest.  That is the only thing to which he is never false.” (153)

“Evidence, after all, is only that which we see, and human vision is limited to surfaces.” (161)

King in Prussia

I don’t believe I have read any novel by Sabatini that appeared to be such a blatant commentary on the times Sabatini lived than King in Prussia.  The story is essentially about Frederick the Great of Prussia, his formative years, character, and early years of his reign, seen through the eyes of the English Lord Alverley.  Alverley is a part of the story due to his relation to Katte (his cousin), who would play such a significant role in Frederick’s life.

I am convinced that Sabatini wrote this as a commentary on Germany at the time of writing (1944) for various reasons.  Firstly, Prussia is an unusual subject for Sabatini, as he usually writes about Civil War England, the French Revolution, or the Italian Renaissance.  Secondly, there are various comments that can be seen as parallels to World War II such as those made by Cardinal Fleury on pg. 141 and various other remarks concerning Frederick’s war planning as foreshadowing Hitler’s.  Perhaps I am reading too much into this book, but even if that is the case, Sabatini has done an excellent job of bringing historical events to life in the novel.  That he could be true to history and also comment on the political climate in which he was writing is simply further testament to his skills as an author.

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  1. […] VI.01.44. __ King in Prussia / The Birth of Mischief […]


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