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The Walls of Byzantium (The Mistra Chronicles Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

James Heneage
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
Kindle Price: £4.29 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

This sweeping historical novel is shaped by the quest for a mysterious relic, guarded through generations, and by one man that might yet save the threatened Byzantine empire.

In an age of clashing empires, dark forces from the east are endangering the first light of the western Renaissance. It is an age of ruthless rulers, divided churches, fractured dynasties and intrepid traders. It is an age of great cities like Venice and Constantinople; an age of conquerors like Tamerlane who will drown the world in blood; an age when only a hero of exceptional gifts can make a difference.

Luke Magoris is that hero. Born the son of one of the Varangian guards who had sworn to keep the secret relic safe, he will find himself committed to a long journey to discover - and try to avoid - his destiny. He will travel from battle to trading fortune, from horse dealing to captivity, and to the love of three very different women and the unrelenting enmity of two remarkable men.

The Walls of Byzantium is the first of a series that will leave you impatient and longing for the next.


Books In This Series (2 Books)
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    Review

    'A stirring tale of the struggle for Byzantium. Heneage brings to life both the tragedy and the heroism' Tom Holland. 'Fascinating historical mysteries and vivid colourful characters. It's a page-turner fast enough to make its own breeze' Conn Iggulden. 'A compelling narrative of intrigue, love and war' The Bookseller.

    From the Inside Flap

    This sweeping historical novel, rich in story and character, is shaped by the quest for a mysterious relic, guarded through generations, and one that might yet save the threatened Byzantine empire. The Walls of Byzantium is set in an age of clashing empires, as dark forces from the east seem to be sweeping aside everything in their path and endangering the first light of the western Renaissance. It is an age of ruthless rulers, divided churches, fractured dynasties and highly competitive, intrepid traders, fighting as fiercely for the monopoly of their commodities as any today. It is an age of great cities like Venice and Constantinople; an age of conquerors like Tamerlane who will drown the world in blood; an age when only a hero of exceptional gifts can make a difference. Luke Magoris is that hero. Born the son of one of the Varangian guards who had sworn to keep the secret safe, he will find himself committed to a long journey to discover - and try to avoid - his destiny. He will travel from battle to trading fortune, from horse dealing to captivity, and to the love of three very different women and the unrelenting enmity of two remarkable men. The Walls of Byzantium is the first of a series that will leave you impatient and longing for the next.


    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1578 KB
    • Print Length: 576 pages
    • Publisher: Heron Books (4 July 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00BXFJ1K6
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,187 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    More About the Author

    James Heneage has been fascinated by history from an early age, in particular the rise and fall of empires. He was the founder of the Ottakar's chain of bookshops which, between 1987 and 2006 grew to 150 branches before being bought by Waterstones. James spent these twenty years reading and researching historical subjects before settling on the end of the Byzantine Empire as the period he wanted to write about.

    After Ottakar's, he chaired the Cheltenham Literary Festival before setting up his own festival entirely devoted to history with author James Holland. The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is now in its third year and attracts around 30,000 people to its menu of talks, debates and living history displays.

    The first of his Mistra Chronicles, The Walls of Byzantium, was launched at the Festival in June 2013.

    Visit www.mistrachronicles.com for more information.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable historical fiction. 19 Mar. 2014
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    If you want action, adventure and history then The Walls of Byzantium is a book I would recommend for you. It moved along nicely and the characters become almost like friends near the end. You will find yourself caught up not only in the adventure but also in the historical fact as well. looking forward to reading the second instalment.
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    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars what a book 22 Mar. 2014
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    This is one of the finest books I have read for a long time. I plan to re read it very soon as the details were so fascinating I don't believe I absorbed them all fully. I also can't wait to read the sequel. I would recommend this to anyone interested in the history of the 1300's and the way it shaped so much of later events. I can't wait to read thesequl, I'm writing it twice I know but that is how I feel.
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    19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Historical adventure at its best 27 Sept. 2013
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    The Walls of Byzantium is an epic novel, the first of a new series, set at the end of the fourteenth century and mapping the decline and fall of the Byzantine Empire. I don't know much about the period, but I was relieved to find that everything I need to know to grasp what's going on is provided in the text. There's an easy to read map at the start of the books but we are spared a glossary or distracting notes. James Heneage is a first class storyteller and he sweeps you along from page one, quietly adding to the reader's knowledge only when necessary.

    I found this a hugely enjoyable novel set in a fascinating period. The plague had swept through Europe in the mid-fourteenth century wiping out a third of the population and ushered in a new age of fervent religious belief. Life expectancy was short and many of the new rulers and commanders were young, hot headed and spoiling for a fight. The aggressive empires of the East were approaching their zenith: the Ottomans and the Mongols were eager to sweep westwards and had the numbers and capability to overwhelm Europe and stop the flowering of the Renaissance in its tracks. The answer to why this didn't happen and how European civilization survived is the underlying theme of the novel.

    The fate of all of the empires, both East and West, is told through the interconnecting lives of four main characters: Luke Magoris, a medieval horse whisperer whose growth and development seems to embody the glimmering light of the Renaissance; Anna Laskaris whose high birth finds her trapped in a nasty political marriage; Prince Suleyman, heir to the Sultanate and the novel's prime villain; and Zoe Mamonas, a schemer of Borgia-like proportions who remains engaging and sympathetic throughout.
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    11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite work for me... 19 Feb. 2014
    By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER
    Format:Kindle Edition
    I hate to "spoil the party" but, unlike the other reviews, this one will not be entirely favourable. This is because I had problems with the way the author presented the historical context, with the plot and with some of the characters in this novel.

    To start with the positive elements, the topic is somewhat original. There are already a number of novels on the final siege and fall of Constantinople. However, this seems to be the first series covering the last years of the 14th and first years of the 15th century, or at least the first one that I have come across. The Crusade that was destroyed by the Turks at the battle of Nicopolis (in 1396) and the crushing defeat of the same Ottomans at the hand of Tamerlane (Ankara in 1402) essentially offered the moribund Byzantine Empire a lease of another half century, especially since the Ottoman Empire was raked by civil war after the disaster of Ankara.

    This book focuses on the declining Byzantine Empire which was a shadow of its former self. The term "Empire" had largely become a misnomer for what had become a state paying tribute to the expanding Ottomans. This "decline and fall" from former splendour and glory is something that the author shows rather well, with the Emperor and the scattered remains of the Empire, including the Despotate of Mistra, remaining precariously autonomous.
    In his historical note, the author explains that Sultan Bayezid "had to conquer the Byzantine Empire and, in particular, the city of Constantinople" allegedly because "the Gates of Byzantium were the Gates into Europe." This rather lyrical presentation does not, unfortunately, present the real reasons for taking control of Constantinople.
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    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars amazing debut, eagerly awaiting part 2 4 Mar. 2014
    By Bing139
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    An engrossing, amazingly well researched tale, which hardly give the reader time to breath.
    The author can certainly weave a tale of so many twists turns and unexpected surprises. Five stars!
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Start of an Odyssey 9 Feb. 2015
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    This book is wonderful. I fell in love with the style, subject and genre almost instantly - and remained captivated throughout. One of the most exciting features of this is that we are to live with this history and (at least some of) these characters throughout an entire odyssey and this journey is only just starting. This more than compensated for a gentle slowing in pace (probably intentional) towards the end which only set up the explosive start of the second book (into which I am already completely immersed). This was a tour de force.
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    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I stuck with this book because of the good reviews it got, but have to say it goes down as one of the most boring I have ever read - it never seemed to quite 'get going' to me
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    1.0 out of 5 stars dull could not finish it.
    not an adult book more for teenagers. story line too predicable and linear for my taste.
    Published 2 days ago by PJH
    2.0 out of 5 stars poor mans dorothy dunnett
    i enjoy historical fiction rooted in fact and got this series based on the reviews. however i found the characters 2 dimensional with little exploration of personality or... Read more
    Published 24 days ago by lesley young
    4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
    Decent first book to make me want to read the rest of the series.
    Published 1 month ago by collessiebear
    2.0 out of 5 stars Turgid worthy pastiche - and no, I don't rate it!
    All published authors deserve applause. Heneage deserves a gentle patter of gloved fingers. How can I say this? It just doesn't hang together. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Enquirer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    great read, super price
    Published 1 month ago by geo marsh
    3.0 out of 5 stars Could be shorter
    Bit too long for my taste as it could be cut down by about 100 pages and not detract away from the storyline
    Published 1 month ago by Timothy061
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Story panned out with a lot of details.
    Published 3 months ago by Roy D. Marshall
    4.0 out of 5 stars Romp in the Near East
    Real romp of a historical fiction, an interesting debut from a new writer. I don’t think that Heneage is the finished article yet – his characters could do with a little more... Read more
    Published 4 months ago by History Geek
    2.0 out of 5 stars average yarn
    I have read many accounts, both fiction and non fiction, relating this era in the history of Byzantium. Read more
    Published 5 months ago by Ann MacDonald
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great book, loved the story line.
    Published 6 months ago by Phill2610
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