"All the pages of this book, except for the last chapter, were written during the Japanese occupation. They were miraculously preserved because they were hidden inside glass jars that I buried in the garden of my house." - Jes's Balmori
Written in secrecy during the terrible final years of World War II (1942 - 1945), Birds of Fire, A Filipino War Novel is an intense testimony to the courage of the human spirit facing the cruelty of military occupation. Jesus Balmori (1886-1948), poet, novelist and journalist, was one of the most prominent figures in 20th century Hispanic-Filipino literature. Birds of Fire, his last and most important novel, narrates the rise and fall of the Robles family, prominent members of the Spanish-Filipino high society. Through the survival drama and dissolution of the family, Balmori chronicles the horrors of war, the heroic resistance of a people, and the tragedy of a society facing extinction. After years of hardship, and despite having lost all his possessions in the bombing and destruction of Manila, Balmori was able to complete the manuscript and cede it to the Philippine government for publication before his death. However, the work was never published, falling into oblivion and believed to be lost for more than 50 years. The recent rediscovery and publication of Birds of Fire represents a historic event for the memory of the Filipino people and their literary tradition. This is the first English translation.