Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal
In the Taurus highlands of Anatolia in the 1930s life is harsh and the five small villages on Dikenli, the Plateau of Thistles, are ruled by the owner of the land, Abdi Agha. Ince Memed, the only son of a poor widow, plans to escape his servitude by fleeing Dikenli with his beloved, Hatch . The Agha catches the couple as they attempt their escape. Memed wounds the Agha and disappears into the night but Hatch is captured. Memed, still only a youth, becomes a brigand in the mountains, driven by his determination to rescue his beloved and settle accounts with the vindictive Abdi Agha. Yashar Kemal's first novel, originally published in 1952, combines a narrative of great excitement and drama with a strong and simple portrait of the rigours of peasant life, vivid in its detail and observation.