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Quo Vadis (Henryk Sienkiewicz)


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Historical novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, first published in Polish under its Latin title in 1896. The title means "Where are you going?" and alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The popular novel was widely translated. Set in ancient Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero, it tells the story of the love between a Christian woman and a Roman officer who, after meeting her fellow Christians, converts to her religion. Underlying their relationship is the contrast between the worldly opulence of the Roman aristocracy and the poverty, simplicity and spiritual power of the Christians, as Rome sinks under the excesses of Nero and Christians are thrown to the lions. The novel has a subtext referring to the persecution and political subjugation of Poland by Russia. Author received Nobel Prize.