This is an example of history written as a thriller; Runciman has masterfully woven the tales of the two sides into a brilliant narrative of the events leading up to and the main reasons for the fall/conquest of of Constantinople (or Istanbul, depending on your point of view). He very cleverly structures the book so that, even though you know what's coming, the suspense about how it will happen just builds. I cannot praise this book highly enough. I should also mention John Julius's trilogy on Byzantium which is an extremely readable and entertaining book.
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