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This is a romance novel. The Knights of the Cross is a 1900 historical novel. Krzyżacy tells the story of a young nobleman, Zbyszko of Bogdaniec, who together with his uncle Maćko of Bogdaniec returns from the war against the Order (Knights of the Cross) in nearby Lithuania. In a tavern inn Zbyszko falls in love with the lovely Danusia, who is traveling with the court of the Duchess Anna. He swears to her his knight's oath and promises to bring her three trophies from the Teutonic Knights. On his way to the royal city of Kraków (Cracow), Zbyszko attacks Kuno von Liechtenstein, who is an official diplomatic delegate of the Teutonic Knights. The penalty is death. Yet, on the scaffold, Danusia saves him from execution when she jumps onto the platform in full view of the crowd, and promises to marry him, covering his head with her handkerchief (an old Polish tradition that carries with it a stay of execution if the couple wed). Zbyszko and Maćko return home to their estate, where they rebuild their mansion. After some time Zbyszko returns to Danuśka and marries her. However, she is soon treacherously kidnapped by four Teutonic Knights who want revenge – her father Jurand fought against the Germans. Jurand himself is soon captured by them, imprisoned and cruelly tortured and maimed. Zbyszko's quest to find and save his kidnapped Danusia continues until, at long last, he rescues her. However, it is too late already. Danuta has been driven insane because of her treatment at the hands of her captors, and eventually dies. The long awaited war begins. The combined forces of Poland and Lithuania under the command of Polish King Ladislaus Jagiello destroy the Teutonic Order in the monumental 1410 Battle of Grunwald. This battle signals the true terminal decline of the Teutonic Order.