12 June, 2015

The walls of Byzantium by James Heneage

The walls of Byzantium is set at the end of the middles ages in the dying stages of the Byzantine Empire. It follows the adventures of Luke Magoris, a young Varangian (think large-mercenary-axe-wielding-man) in service to the empire, who is caught between destiny, duty, passion and love. His journey will take him from the gates of Europe to the steppes of Asia while facing betrayals, making friends, fighting battles and butting heads with the most powerful individuals in the world.

​I loves me medieval history so The walls of Byzantium was always going to get a tick from me. If I'm to be honest (*cough* which I always am), this period in history is a hive for great storytelling: falling empires, tested loyalties, court intrigues; so Heneage really cannot go wrong here and thus makes a great fist of it.

The decline and fall of the Byzantine Empire hasn't been popularised as much as other periods of history, which allows Heneages characters to flourish and interact with historical figures without too much history 'getting in the way'. One great positive is Heneage's tone which expresses positivity and hope from (and for) the main character Luke and his friends despite the overarching sense of dread of a period of history coming to an end.

The fast paced nature of this book means that those of you usually bored stiff by anything featuring dates and people in fancy dress waving metal objects about (you know who you are), will get swept up in the constant movement around Europe's middle sea. There are saucy women, saucier men, nasty battle scenes and a dashing English lad here to save the day. The walls of Byzantium is recommended for mature readers who love high adventure and especially those of you who like a bit of fact with their fiction.

Title: The walls of Byzantium
Author: James Heneage

Recommended by James W, Sir Edmund Hillary Library Papakura

James W is entering his third year of librarianship. James doesn't dislike people who pour milk secondly, he just believes they are incorrect. James has mastered walking and chewing gum at the same time (blowing bubbles is another matter entirely).

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