This year I decided to show Bernd a look of the literature side of the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49. Not at the whole thing just one work. It's The Baron's Sons by Jókai Mór, a historical novel.
Epub related, Bernd also can read it here if he is curious, not too long but not short either:https://www.literaturebase.com/ebook-34674-The-Barons-Sons-A-Romance-of-the-Hungarian-Revolution-of-1848/
The author (in his full name: Ásvai Jókay Móric) is one of our great writers, his works are studied during school years by every Hungarian, and recognized on international level too. He not just had first hand experience of the Revolution but was among the central figures of it for a while, then he was a chief editor of a main political newspaper. For this book he also used a historical work and articles of the press as a source.
The Barons's Sons was first published in Hungarian in 1869, and the first English edition in 1900. Both romanticist and realist features mingling in this work.
The personal involvement of Jókai in the Revolution makes it unavoidable to view his own side as good and his idealistic leaning makes him paint the morality of his characters dual, black and white, and themselves are stereotyped, tho vacillating supporting characters are also present. The events are grandiose and cataclysmic, in general this is especially true to his battle scenes which are the tales of heroism.
The realism manifests in his genre scenes, the way he presents the everyday life of the characters, especially on the folksier side.
The story runs on several threads with several central figures. Jókai favors much action and movement during the acts, and uses a few plot twists to make things more complicated and exciting. He doesn't treat the antagonists with contempt if it need be he can show the human side of some (tho it is usually a tool to emphasize on the quality of the heroes) but every bad guy/gul meets his/her well deserved fate.
The subject matter, the Revolution and War of Independence is viewed through a fictional family's struggle during the events. And now some spoilers are coming, tho it can be think of it as a teaser too since I this won't be complete.
The baron, the head of the aristocrat Baradlay family, in the title is a "stone hearted man" and he is dying in the beginning of the story due some heart failure. His testament he tries to arrange the future of his wife and three sons in such heartless, very rational and calculating way that after his pass his wife disobeys him and do everything in reverse. While the family has estates on the Hungary they spend part of their life in Wien (since they are aristocrats close to the Court) and the Austrian revolution of 13th March finds them there. Through hardships and adventures they find their way home.
The youngest brother however fell in love an Austrian lady (not sure anymore if she's an aristocrat as well or from a wealthy patrician family). A very rotten one. Her family is close to the Baradlays too and she plays a cruel game with the revolutionaries, while serves the Court purposes. To make matters more difficult the second son is a hussar officer who leads his unit home, but also he was considered a suitor by the lady and now is pursued by the previous suitor who is a cavalry officer in the Habsburg army.
Nevertheless they arrive back home safely, the Hungarian revolution turns into a war of independence. The two older sons participate actively. They participate in a friendly "duel" during the retake of the Buda castle, they lead their own units and race against each other to reach a certain target.
The war fails, the Habsburgs are back, retribution is coming, the responsibles has to be punished, the two older sons' future looks grim. Then the youngest steps up and with his sacrifice he saves his brothers.
At the end the story jumps twenty years and look at the characters of the story how their lives turned out.
A movie adaptation was made in 1965.