The latest addition to my website is Vasyl Shevchuk‘s Побратими, або Пригоди двох запорожців на суходолі, в морі та під водою (Blood Brothers). This novel is set in the seventeenth century and tells of the Zaporozhian Cossacks attempt to free themselves from the Poles as well as from the Tatars and Turks. Our hero is Petro Nepran. He had been captured by the Turks and escaped and returned to the house of his girlfriend Iuliana and her father. He finds that she has a new suitor and the two men decide to fight it out. When Iuliana and her father are captured by Tatar slave traders, the two men become blood brothers, both to rescue Iuliana and her father and to fight for Ukrainian independence. After a daring attack on Istanbul, they join the fight against the Poles in the Fedorovych uprising. We get lots of tales of bravery, fighting, cunning and plotting though neither side wins and the Ukrainians will have to wait till 1991 to gain their independence. It is great fun to read, if somewhat improbable at times, and a good introduction to a part of Ukrainian history most Westerners will know little about.