Books: Mettlesome Magyar

RAKÓSSY by Cecelia Holland. 243 pages. Atheneum. $5.75.

The old adage, "He who has a Hungarian for a friend does not need an enemy," may well be a national slander, but it proves true enough in the case of János Rakóssy, the tough, devious hero of this historical novel. The Hungarians were latecomers to Western Europe, drifting in from southern Russia in the 9th century, and they were so often friendless that it is a wonder they lasted at all. Rakóssy is set in one of the worst times of trouble for the Magyars—when Suleyman the Magnificent and his Turkish Janissaries swept...

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