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3.5 ,. I enjoyed this book But I didn t love it It s fantastically researched, and the authors passion for this period and for Byzantium really comes across in the writing The tensions and flavour of Europe at the time really shine through aswell It s made me want to read on almost everything the book touches on But I don t know if I want to read this series The characters are uninspiring and melodramatic, and the Dan Brown esque storyline is pretty vomit enducing, it really detracts from the rest of the book It reads like the author himself can t decide what the focus is, delving into places and subjects and then dropping them by the wayside It s flirty and annoying.This doesn t mean you shouldn t read it, but be warned that it doesn t stand up to the genre standard
Reading the first 100 pages of Walls of Byzantium and you could believe you are in a standard epic fantasy series first volume that just happens to be set in our history, while having hints of possible magic too destined boy, doomed love maybe , straight out villains and heroes again who knows , hidden magic treasure that may save or doom an empire if found, and a writing style that occasionally borders on bestseller blandness and predictability, All this balanced against very interesting content and on my first reading, I kind of thought not again, promising stuff done in a mediocre at best way and skipped through the book and read here and there and the end.And guess what, once I got familiar with the author style, I was hooked and let the characters take over, so much so that this novel went straight to my top 10 for the year and with a good chance to stay there.And yes everything said in the first lines is still true, but there is something so compelling about our heroes and generally the whole storyline world building that makes all said negatives irrelevant, while the book truly lives in a way that books maybe written with better style and sophisticated characters do not The naive to start Luke Magoris, grandson of a disgraced Varangian guard from Constantinople whose father had to take service with arch villain, traitor, greedy etc etc Archon of Momenvasia and who grew up with their twins spineless coward, villain etc but heir by gender Damian and the willful, wanton, scheming Zoe who badly wants power etc and tries to prove that her being born a girl is just an accident she can correct, while of course as the novel progresses, Luke turns to be a prince, or at least the descendant of suchAnna, another naive heroine this time, daughter of the right hand of the Despot of Mistra to whom the Archon owes allegiance in theory, but in practice he sells his services to whomever offers him the best deal and the Ottomans and the Venetians are now the rich kids on the block, the latter from their spoils of their traitorous Sack of Byzantium two centuries back, while the former the new power which of course wants Byzantium and everything Luke is the man of her life but she is married to another Damian the coward perv and courted by someone even powerful Suleyman, heir of famous Bayezid, lover of Zoe and all around schemer and lover of women, wine and pleasure etc etcFinally there is Zoe, another great character whom one loves to hate and then of course the assorted cast of villains, heroes and wise men both Christian and Muslim as only the Venetians are uniform villains so far, not to speak of a great ending that truly begs the continuation asap.Overall, Walls of Byzantium is a great saga beginning and an entertaining page turner which offers everything one wants in such dramatic sieges, false accusations, magic treasure, enchanted sword, traitorous murders, intrigue, romance, overview of the state of knowledge of the day, battles and the bloody executions after Nicopolis, awesome world building and narrative power that makes one turn the pages, root for the heroes and get immersed in a novel that is grounded in history but reads like fantasy than anything else. 14 site, 2013. Reading half way through this novel I would have given it a happily surprised 4 4.5 rating I enjoyed the fast paced plot, the well researched historical background, the action, the characters, the way the potential for clash was being laid out After the book s final chapter my rating drops to 3 because the characters remained relatively flat, their incentives rather vague and thus the whole plot rationale somewhat weak Some things I found out of sync with the world and mindsets of late the 14th cent I will read the next one towers of Samarkand though because I did enjoy the 1st half of the book and hope the weaknesses of the 2nd half will be remedied. Dreadful Well researched, poorly written and this is the first of seven books. I doubt any information giving about Bayezid and his son Suleyman accurate. I ll start with a short disclaimer that I m an absolute sucker for this time period and region Anything set in the late medieval Mediterranean will get my attention I hope my four stars reflects that this book also kept it.James Heneage obviously has a passion for the Greek Isles and history, so he s chosen to set his Chronicles of Mistra series based around that epic time of history that saw the fall of Constantinople, the rise of the Ottomans and the Renaissance I applaud him for this, because there doesn t seem to be much good historical fiction set in east of europe and beyond during this period If you know any, let me know.I must admit that it reads a bit like an author still discovering how to find his style, but I would argue that he finds it by the end of the novel and in the successive novels, most of which I have read It is a little slow at the front end of the novel and it feels like he tries to wax lyrical a little too much on his descriptions of the Peloponnese I didn t mind this so much because I feel that a series that aspires to cover 70 years of eastern european history needs a somewhat lengthy introduction to the characters, states and politics.James Heneage s research of the era is impressive He has included a lot of historically sound content in the five years or so that this first novel covers Unless you have a keen interest in the era region like myself, you may find some sections a little too protracted.This is a sometimes staggering start to what I believe is a fantastic series full of political intrigue, interspersed with some good old battles and action sequences It also breaks up the action with tidbits of information of trade and invention that really make you feel like you re learning something over the course of the novel s.The series gets better, but I m a little confused about the author s intent for the rest of the series I thought it was going to be a 7 8 book series, but the first three books which I have read cover about 5 10 years of history each, but then he seems to have fast forwarded and covered the next 40 years in his fourth novel You ll be able to read my thoughts on the pacing of successive novels when I post their reviews.4 Stars An excellent book if you are interested in late medieval history of south eastern europe His debut novel staggers along at times, but turns into a series well worth your attention. (FREE DOWNLOAD) ë The Walls of Byzantium (The Mistra Chronicles, #1) ⛑ 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 EmpireIn 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 DifferenceLuke 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 MenThe Walls Of Byzantium Is The First Of A Series That Will Leave You Impatient And Longing For The Next This is a period of history about which I know little and so I was instantly drawn to this book in my never ending quest thirst to expand my historical knowledge It is quite clear that the author has done his research and that comes across well without bogging the reader down in unnecessary and cumbersome facts.Aside from the fact that I had trouble remembering some of the difficult Greek Turkish names, I found some of the characters easy to empathise with yet others lacking in detail and about whom I cared little.It moves along at a nice pace and there is a fair amount of action but I did find the book overly long and wonder whether perhaps some things could have been cut.Fans of this period of history in particular will find this book absorbing.