June 28, 1389: six hundred years before Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic called for a new massacre in Kosovo, there took place, on the Field of the Blackbirds, a battle shrouded in legend. A coalition of Serbs, Albanian Catholics, Bosnians, and Rumanians confronted and were defeated by the Ottoman army of Sultan Murad. This battle became the centerpiece of Serbian nationalist ideology, justifying the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Albanian Kosovars. In three stories resonant with mystery, Ismail Kadare explores the legend and the consequences of that defeat.
-- A heartfelt and yet clear-eyed lament for a land riven by hatreds as old as the Homeric epics and as young as the latest news broadcast.