The celebrated TRANSYLVANIAN TRILOGY by Count Miklos Banffy is a stunning historical epic set in the lost world of the Hungarian aristocracy just before World War I. Written in the 1930s and first discovered by the English-speaking world after the fall of communism in Hungary, Banffy’s novels were translated in the late 1990s to critical acclaim and now appear for the first time in hardcover.
They Were Counted, the first novel in the trilogy, introduces us to a decadent, frivolous, and corrupt society unwittingly bent on its own destruction during the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Banffy’s lush depiction of an opulent lost paradise focuses on two upper-class cousins who couldn’t be more different: Count Balint Abady, a liberal politician who compassionately defends his homeland’s downtrodden Romanian peasants, and his dissipated cousin Laszlo, whose life is a whirl of parties, balls, hunting, and gambling. They Were Counted launches a story that brims with intrigues, love affairs, duels, murder, comedy, and tragedy, set against the rugged and ravishing scenery of Transylvania. Along with the other two novels in the trilogy—They Were Found Wanting and They Were Divided—it combines a Proustian nostalgia for the past, insight into a collapsing empire reminiscent of the work of Joseph Roth, and the drama and epic sweep of Tolstoy.