The city of Thessalonica was a Christian light in a sea of pagan darkness, filled with hostile Germanic tribes and their powerful demons who threatened George, his family and his city.
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Turtledove, who has a PhD in Byzantine history, accurately portrays Christian life in the Roman Empire during the 7th century AD. Details buffs such as myself will note that from time to time he makes glaring errors such as messing up the "Trisagion prayer", but if you are not an Eastern Christian this won't bother you a bit. Also, the bishop's prayers are borderline silly at times.
One other negative aspect of the book is Turtledove's obsession with describing the status of the satyrs' sexual organs (in mythology these animals are oversexed, and Turtledove uses vivid descriptions of the satyr's erectile state to determine his mood, which gets annoying.)
The book's action moves quickly, and the author incorporates the main character George's home life quite well into the thread of the action.
I loved this book and would recommend it to those who have an interest in the genre of historical fantasy.
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