Author: C.C. Humphreys
Publish Date: September 1, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You love great characters.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Gregoras had vowed never to return to Constantinople, the cursed home that had betrayed and scarred not only in his mind, but his face for all to see. But now with 100,000 Muslim soldiers outside its walls, he can hear its desperate calls for his help, as it can only be held by men and mercenaries as skilled in battle as Gregoras, of which few remain.
His return home, though, will mean not only having to face the constant hum of arrow and cannon, but also Theon, twin brother...and betrayer. And with him his beloved Sofia, lost when Gregoras was cast from his home, now bound to Theon in marriage. But the rewards of victory would not only be the glories of the battle, but the redemption of his name and his soul."
My Two Cents:
This story takes place in the 1400s during the siege of Contantinople, where the Turks invaded the city in order to wrestle away power. Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) was at the crossroads of the world at that time. It was where the East and West met and therefore, there were a lot of different groups that wanted to control it. You had the Italians, Turkish, and Greeks all vying for dominance in the city.
Yes, this is a war story but there is so much more to it than that. As the book synopsis points out, the story of the city and the siege cannot be separated from the people who lived there and the people who invaded. The story is mostly told through stories (a mix of fictional and non-fictional characters)of the people who witnessed the siege. I really liked this touch. I'm not really into long, drawn out scenes of battles but you definitely don't get that here. Yes, there are some battles and some fighting in the book (as to be expected in a book about a siege) but the main story is really about the characters and how they deal with the events. I think that using the characters to tell about this historical event helped to make the book really accessible to someone like me who really doesn't like just straight war novels.
The characters are all good and all add something to the story. I don't think that I really had a favorite (although I had a soft spot for Gregoras) as all of the characters really needed to be in the book in order to make it work. One thing I will say is that there are a lot of characters in the book and I had some trouble keeping track of them so if you're easily confused by huge casts of characters, this may not be for you. Luckily for me, there was an easily accessible guide to the characters in the front of the book, which made life much easier for me.
This was a historical event that I really was not familiar with before this book. Humphreys writes in a way that allows people unfamiliar with this event to understand what's going on but I think that even those who know a lot about this historical event will get something new out of the book.
Bottom line: A great historical fiction for those that like seeing history through those that were there!