Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James Martin  

Pen Name: James Conroyd Martin


Born: 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Illinois Connection

Martin lives in Chicago and is an English and creative writing teacher at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He holds degrees from St. Ambrose and DePaul Universities.

Biographical and Professional Information

Martin is a teacher and the award-winning author of Push Not the River, a novel based on the actual diary of a countess who lived through the rise and fall of Poland's Third of May Constitution in 1790s. and Against a Crimson Sky, which continues the family saga into the Napoleonic era.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Warsaw Conspiracy (The Poland Trilogy) (Volume 3)
ISBN: 0615741916

Hussar Quill Press. 2012

~~WINNER: 2015 Chaucer Awards FIRST PLACE Category Fiction~~

Engaging and opulent, THE WARSAW CONSPIRACY unfolds as a family saga set against the November Rising (1830-1831), partitioned Poland's daring challenge to the Russian Empire. Brilliantly illustrating the psyche of a people determined to reclaim independence in the face of monumental odds, the story portrays two brothers and their fates in love and war. Michał is a seasoned veteran soldier, cautious of the evolving conspiracy

Józef, his much younger brother and impassioned cadet, finds himself caught up in the vortex of a daring plot to abduct the Grand Duke of Russia. With Siberia or emigration to France looming as heart-rending contingencies, matriarchs Anna and Zofia stay steadfast in their resolve to steer the clan through ever-muddying waters.

Against a Crimson Sky: A Novel
ISBN: 0312326831

St. Martin's Griffin. 2007

A magnificent epic, Against a Crimson Sky is an unforgettable tale of love, valor, and the enduring strength of the human spirit, set against the backdrop of war-torn Poland at the cusp of the nineteenth century.

The year is 1794, and the beautiful and resilient Countess Anna Maria Berezowska has narrowly escaped death amidst the chaos caused by the violent dissolution of Poland.

Anna is soon reunited with her longtime love, Lord Jan Stelnicki, and the two lovers marry even as their beloved Poland is ripped apart. As the couple struggles to raise a family in the face of an uncertain future, Anna’s capricious cousin, Zofia, returns with a surprise of her own. Although Zofia’s past schemes still resonate, Anna’s doubts turn to fear as Jan’s patriotism draws him to the battlefield.

Offering new hope for a conquered Poland, Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in all of his pomp and glory. With the aid of new Polish legions—Anna’s friends and family among them—Napoleon battles his way across Europe in an effort that culminates in the doomed 1812 winter march into Russia.

Against this backdrop, Anna and Jan valiantly fight to hold on to a tenuous happiness, their country, and their very lives.

Push Not the River
ISBN: 0312311532

St. Martin's Griffin. 2004

Panoramic and lush, Push Not the River is the romantic epic of one young countess's coming-of-age during the upheaval of eighteenth-century Poland--a time of heartache and turmoil as the country is torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties. At seventeen, Lady Anna Maria Berezowska loses her family and must leave the only home she has ever known. With Catherine's Russian armies streaming in to take their spoils, Anna is quickly thrust into a world of love and hate, patriotism and treason, life and death.

Based on the actual dairy of real Polish countess, Push Not the River depicts the unforgettable metamorphosis of a nation--and of a proud and resilient women.

"James Conroyd Martin's vivid historical novel captivates the reader with its sweeping depiction of a bygone society on the cusp of violent change. . . With his juxtaposition of the personal and political, Martin weaves a compelling tale of transformation, both of a remarkable young woman and her remarkable nation."
JENNIFER DONNELLY, author of The Tea Rose

"Martin's novel transports the reader two hundred years into Poland's glorious past, a world of castles and manor houses. . . Push Not The River sings of a people's pride and indomitable hope."
JAN LORYS, director of the Polish Museum of America

JAMES CONROYD MARTIN, a native of Chicago, teaches English and creative writing at Marian High School, a well-known college-prep high school in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He holds degrees from St. Ambrose and DePaul universities. He is currently working on a sequel to Push Not the River.



Gold Medal from the American Institute of Polish Culture for Push Not the River & Against a Crimson Sky

James was honored at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.