In nineteenth century Tsarist Russia an orphaned child born of Jewish and Cossack blood grows up in a land of wealthy aristocrats, struggling peasants, and growing discontent.Sent to an elite military academy at the tender age of four, Sergei Ivanov (Socrates) comes of age training to protect a way of life he doesn't understand. When a sudden death forces Sergei to flee, he escapes into the wilderness. From the heights of love to the depths of despair, from the threat of a mortal enemy to the search for a child he has never met, Sergei Ivanov's odyssey unlocks hidden wisdom at the heart of life. He could never have imagined that from the moment of his birth he was destined to become the peaceful warrior who would change the lives of millions worldwide. The odyssey that unfolds is not about the revolutions of history, but about the revolution in one man's heart. A stirring story emerges as Sergei encounters mentors and masters who reveal secrets about the arts of war and, ultimately, the path to peace.
Journeys, the prequel to Millman's novel Way of the Peaceful Warrior published 25 years ago, begins with the violent birth of Sergei Ivanov in 19th-century tsarist Russia. Young Sergei is sent to an elite Cossack military boarding school for intensive training, and in the course of saving another student's life, he makes a powerful enemy. When he leaves the school, his odyssey begins in a quest for revenge. But as he moves forward, Sergei encounters masters who reveal secrets about martial arts and the path to peace. Although Sam Tsoutsouvas's narration is sometimes rather flat, the ending is exciting and moving. Recommended for public library collections.-Barbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 21, 2006
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Excerpt from The Journeys of Socrates by Dan Millman
SERGEI WAS WORRIED, that October day, when he was summoned to his uncle's office. Being summoned a rare event for any young cadet usually meant bad news or punishment. So, in no hurry to stand before the chief instructor's stern face and down turned brows, Sergei wandered across the school compound at a distinctly unmilitary pace.
He was supposed to think of Vladimir Ivanov not as his uncle but as Chief Instructor. He also was not supposed to ask personal questions, though he had many about his parents and about his past. The chief instructor had said little about either one, except on that day four years ago when he'd announced that Sergei's father had died.
Each spot Sergei passed in the inner courtyard held memories of earlier years: the first time he'd ridden a horse, bouncing wildly, clinging to the reins in a death grip one of many fistfights he'd gotten into due to a quick temper, then lost due to his frail disposition.
He passed the infirmary and the small apartment of Galina, the elderly school nurse, who had watched over him when he'd first arrived. She had wiped his nose when he was sick and brought him to meals until he found his own way around. Too young to live in a barrack, he had slept on a cot just off the infirmary wing until he was five. It was a lonely time, with no place of his own and nowhere he fit in. The cadets treated him like a mascot or pet dog petted one day, beaten the next.
Most of the other boys had mothers or fathers at home; Sergei had only his uncle, so he worked hard to please the chief instructor. His efforts, however, only earned the wrath of the older cadets, who called him "Uncle's Vlad's boy." They would trip, push, or punch him at every opportunity a moment's inattention might mean bruises or worse. Older cadets routinely bullied the younger ones, and physical beatings were commonplace. The instructors knew about it but looked the other way unless someone was seriously injured. They tolerated the fights because it spurred the younger boys to toughen up and stay alert. It was, after all, a military school.
The first time Sergei was accosted by an older cadet, over in the corner of the compound, he started swinging wildly, sensing that if he backed down there would be no end to it. The older boy gave him a good beating, but Sergei managed to get in one or two good punches, and the boy never bothered him after that. Another time he had come upon two cadets beating a new boy. Sergei had attacked them with more rage than skill. They had backed off, treating the whole thing like a joke. But it was no joke to the new boy, whose name was Andrei and who had been Sergei's only real friend ever since.