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Byzantium

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0871132753 Brand NEW Book - May have light shelf-wear ~ all books carefully examined & well packaged

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1989 Hard cover New in Fine dust jacket. 768 p.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The hero of this long, densely written saga is the dispossessed Viking prince Haraldr Sigurdarson, a real historical figure who participated in the power struggles of the Byzantine Empire, where he served incognito as an imperial bodyguard. Most of the other characters are plucked from history too, among them vain Empress Zoe and her vacillating, guilt-ridden emperor husband; the power-mad monk Joannes, Theodora, Constantine and fiery Maria of the Robes. Journalist Ennis, whose first novel this is, elaborates on actual historic events to create a mosaic of conspiracies and betrayals, sexual excess, battle scenes. Yet beneath the chic, glittery decadence he rings changes on time-worn themes: the redeeming power of love, lust for power versus statecraft, the conflict between desire and duty. Readers undeterred by the overly ornate prose and long descriptive passages may take to this 11th-century debauch. The dialogue, at times stilted, is now and then wonderfully theatrical. In their cynicism, closeness to death and philosophy of living for the moment, these Byzantines have a contemporary feel. (July)
Library Journal
Ennis's first novel memorably evokes the panoply, wars, plots, wealth, poverty, and curious commingling of Christianity and paganism in the 11th-century Byzantine empire. Based on historical events and personages, it centers on Harald Sigurdarson, a Norse prince who flees his homeland to end up leading mercenaries in Constantinople. Caught between rival factions, he is drawn to Maria, the sensual Mistress of the Robes whose dreams link their destinies. Vivid imagery is employed whether describing shipboard battles or the grisly details of ritualistic torture and execution at which the monks prove as adept as the ``barbarians.'' Although the novel could have benefited from judicious pruning, it provides many hours of enjoyable, suspenseful reading. Highly recommended for historical fiction collections.-- Ellen Kaye Stoppel, Drake Univ. Law Lib., Des Moines, Ia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871132758
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/1989
  • Pages: 648

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    Amazing work, combines deep understanding of history and dramatic writing.

    Everything the dust jacket promo piece says is true. I learned a lot about a most cosmopolitan world that lies between late hellenic antiquity and more modern European history, between east and west. 'Byzantium' teaches the literate reader a lot about a world little known outside the circles of the experts, a world that made the European Renaissance possible. I am glad it is not a short book and I am glad I brought it with me to Athens. This is not just a 'novel' it is a historical novel and was never meant to be light reading. It made me think of Gore Vidal only M. Ennis is better at building up suspence!

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