Place Called Armageddon: Constantinople 1453

( 162 )

Overview

Gregoras had vowed never to return to Constantinople, the cursed home that had betrayed and scarred not only 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...

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Place Called Armageddon: Constantinople 1453

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Overview

Gregoras had vowed never to return to Constantinople, the cursed home that had betrayed and scarred not only 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The storyline grips the audience as we learn why some from side come to fight (or defend) like Venusians, Achmed the farmer and John Grant the Scot....each character adds depth to a vivid picture in which armchair fans will believe they are witnessing the siege of Constantinople from within and outside circa 1453." - The Mystery Gazette

"Oh man, Humphreys has me by the first page of the prologue!... Overall, it's a sad story with its Cain and Abel, youthful love versus mature, life's dramas that will twist the path you follow." - Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

"A great historical fiction for those that like seeing history through those that were there!" - A Bookish Affair

"The author did a great job of researching and accurately writing about the events leading to this place in history. Even though the book was long it didn't feel like it because it was fast paced and very interesting." - Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews

"Even knowing the outcome of the battle I kept feeling as if it might change as I turned the pages. And I was turning them very quickly. Mr. Humphrey had a way of getting inside the heads of his characters so the reader was there too. His descriptions allowed for a true feeling of place which was good - until the battles started and then I was right in the middle of it. I didn't want to be there but I had Gregoras with me and he was a good man to lead the way through a fight." - Broken Teepee

"Definitely recommended for historical fiction lovers (those love reading a good battle, or two. Or three). It's worth the read, with rich interesting characters, with a fantastic setting." - Okbo Lover

"Humphreys' skill with historical fiction is apparent on every page, and his ability to handle the large cast without tripping up readers is impressive. While the conquest is a foregone conclusion, Humphreys creates suspense and empathy for both sides of the conflict. Readers will enjoy reading a little-heard tale." - Publishers Weekly

"Overall this was an excellent book and a extremely interesting topic. If you are fan of the genre you will not be disappointed, and if like me you are new to it, you couldn't ask for a better introduction; especially with such a great writer like Humphreys.
" - Book Him Danno!

Humphreys creates suspense and empathy for both sides of the conflict. Readers will enjoy reading a little-heard tale

It has a little bit of something for everyone - great characters, vivid details, the strengths and weaknesses of everyone, historical background, and everything bundled up in a fast-paced work of fiction.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402280856
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 692,789
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys is an actor, playwright, fight choreographer and novelist. He has written nine historical fiction novels including The French Executioner, runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers; Vlad — The Last Confession, the epic novel of the real Dracula; and A Place Called Armageddon. His latest YA novel is The Hunt of the Unicorn. His work has been translated into thirteen languages. Find out more about him on his website: http://cchumphreys.com

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Read an Excerpt

— PROLOGUS —

6 April 1453

We are coming, Greek.

Climb your highest tower, along those magnificent walls. They have kept you safe for a thousand years. Resisted every one of our attacks. Before them, where your fields and vineyards once stood, are trenches and emplacements. Empty, for now. Do you expect them to be filled with another doomed army of Islam, like all the martyrs that came and failed here before?

No. For we are different this time. There are more of us, yes. But there is something else. We have brought something else.

Close your eyes. You will hear us before you see us. We always arrive with a fanfare. We are people who like a noise. And that deep thumping, the one that starts from beyond the ridge and runs over our trenches, through the ghosts of your vineyards, rising through stone to tickle your feet? That is a drum, a kos drum, a giant belly to the giant man who beats it. There is another...no, not just one. Not fifty. More. These come with the shriek of the pipe, the seven-note sevre, seven to each drum.

The mehter bands come marching over the ridge line, sunlight sparkling on instruments inlaid with silver, off swaying brocade tassels. You blink, and then you wonder: there are thousands of them. Thousands. And these do not even carry weapons.

Those with weapons come next.

First the Rumelian division. Years ago, when you were already too weak to stop us, we bypassed your walls, conquered the lands beyond them to the north. Their peoples are our soldiers now-Vlachs, Serbs, Bulgars, Albanians. You squint against the light, wishing you did not see, hoping the blur does not conceal-but it does!-the thousands that are there, the men on horseback followed by many more on foot. Many, many more.

The men of Rumelia pass over the ridge and swing north toward the Golden Horn. When the first of them reach its waters, they halt, turn, settle. Rank on rank on the ridgeline, numberless as ants. Their mehter bands sound a last peal of notes, a last volley of drumbeats. Then all is silent.

Only for a moment. Drums again, louder if that were possible, even more trumpets. Because the Anatolian division is larger. Can you believe it? That as many men pass over the hilltop again and then just keep coming? They head to the other sea, south toward Marmara, warriors from the heartland of Turkey. The sipahi, knights mailed from neck to knee, with metal turban helms, commanding their mounts with a squeeze of thigh and a grunt, leaving hands free to hoist their war lances high, lift their great curving bows. Eventually they pass, and then behind them march the yayas, the peasant soldiers, armored by the lords they follow, trained by them, hefting their spears, their great shields.

When at last the vast body reaches the water, they turn to face you, double-ranked. Music ceases. A breeze snaps the pennants. Horses toss their heads and snort. No man speaks. Yet there is still a space between the vast divisions of Rumelia and Anatolia. The gap concerns you-for you know it is to be filled.

It is-by a horde, as many as each of those who came before. These do not come with music. But they come screaming. They pour down, and run each way along the armored fronts of Anatolia and Rumelia. They do not march. They have never been shown how. For these are bashibazouks, irregulars recruited from the fields of empire and the slums of cities. They are not armored, though many have shields and each warrior a blade. Some come for God-but all for gold. Your gold, Greek. They have been told that your city is cobbled with it, and these tens of thousands will hurl themselves again and again against your walls to get it. When they die by the score-as they will-a score replaces them. Another. Each score will kill a few of you. Until it is time for the trained and armored men to use their sacrificed bodies as bridges and kill the few of you who remain.

The horde runs, yelling, along the ordered ranks, on and on. When at last it halts, even these men fall quiet. Stay so for what seems an age. And that gap is still there, and now you almost yearn for it to be filled. Yearn too for the hush, more dreadful than all those screams, to end. So that this all ends.

And then they come. No drums. No pipes. As silent as the tread of so many can be.

You have heard of them, these warriors. Taken as Christian boys, trained from childhood in arms and in Allah, praise Him. Devoted to their corps, their comrades, their sultan. They march in their ortas, a hundred men to each one.

The janissaries have arrived.

You know their stories, these elite of the elite that have shattered Christendom's armies again and again. In recent memory alone, at Kossovo Pol, and at Varna. As they swagger down the hill, beneath their tall white felt hats, their bronzed shields, their drawn scimitars, their breastplates dazzle with reflected sunlight.

They turn to face you, joining the whole of our army in an unbroken line from sea to sparkling sea. Again a silence comes. But not for long this time. They are waiting, as you are. Waiting for him.

He comes. Even among so many he is hard to miss, the tall young man on the huge white horse. Yet if you did not recognize him, you will by what follows him. Two poles. What hangs from one is so old, its green has turned black with the years. It looks to you what it is-a tattered piece of cloth.

It is the banner that was carried before the Prophet himself, peace be unto him. You know this, because when it is driven into the ground, a moan goes through the army. And then the second pole is placed and the moan blends with the chime of a thousand tiny bells. The breeze also lifts the horsetails that dangle from its height.

Nine horsetails. As befits a sultan's tug.

Mehmet. Lord of lords of this world. King of believers and unbelievers. Emperor of East and West. Sultan of Rum. He has many titles more yet he craves only one. He would be "Fatih."

The Conqueror.

He turns and regards all those he has gathered to this spot to do his and Allah's will. Then his eyes turn to you. To the tower where you stand. He raises a hand, lets it fall. The janissaries part and reveal what you'd almost forgotten-that square of dug earth right opposite you, a medium bowshot away. It was empty when last you looked. But you were distracted by innumerable men. Now it is full.

Remember I told you we were bringing something different? Not only this vast army. Something new? Here it is.

A cannon. No, not a cannon. That is like calling paradise "a place." This cannon is monstrous. And as befits it, it has a monster's name. The Basilisk. It is the biggest gun that has ever been made. Five tall janissaries could lie along its length. The largest of them could not circle its bronze mouth in his arms.

Breathe, Greek! You have time. It will be days before the monster is ready to fire its ball bigger than a wine barrel. Yet once it begins, it will keep firing until...until that tower you stand on is rubble.

When it is, I will come.

For I am the Turk. I come on the bare feet of the farmer, the armored boot of the Anatolian. In the mad dash of the serdengecti who craves death and in the measured tread of the janissary who knows a hundred ways to deal it. I clutch scimitar, scythe, and spear, my fingers pull back bowstring and trigger, I have a glowing match to lower into a monster's belly and make it spit out hell.

I am the Turk. There are a hundred thousand of me. And I am here to take your city.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 162 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(72)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(28)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(7)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 162 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    I figured I should post a 5 star review to offset some of the mo

    I figured I should post a 5 star review to offset some of the morons posting 1 star reviews just because this free book doesn't cater to their tastes. Since when did the center of universe shift to your position? Just because it's not something you're interested in doesn't mean it's 1 star crap. Tastes, as you might know, vary tremendously among the 6 billion people on this earth. Idiots. 

    89 out of 165 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Please remember: It is most helpful to all if the book is review

    Please remember: It is most helpful to all if the book is reviewed by people who have read the book. Reviews of editorials or reviews of other people's opinions are not helpful to anyone while they are trying to decide if they want the book. Also, everyone has a different taste in literature. If it is not your preferred genre, that doesn't mean it is a bad book and doesn't mean it should get 1 star...Someone else might love that book. Please note: I am giving it 3 stars (neutral) because I have not read it yet.

    35 out of 102 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    The book takes place in 1453.  Another book site with reviews ga

    The book takes place in 1453.  Another book site with reviews gave it 4 & 5 stars.  "A real page turner".  

    24 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Finally, a free historical fiction selection for Friday.  There

    Finally, a free historical fiction selection for Friday.  There haven't been very many historical fiction picks and ,I for one, am glad you finally came up with one.
    Please post more of these.  Thanks and have a great weekend.  

    23 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    It's sad to come on here and hopefully find honest opinions rega

    It's sad to come on here and hopefully find honest opinions regarding the book - then just read petty bickering and pointless name calling. Some of us would like to depend on this being an open, intelligent forum when choosing a book to add to our library. Maybe there should be a seperate area to blog aurguments that don't actually interfere with people who come here to sincerely rate and review books based on their opionion after the book has actually been read.

    21 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    The New York Times

    "Five Stars"

    21 out of 62 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Love History

    I love history but I don't think this book is for me. I'm not a fan of Islam in general and this book is filled with it. The beginning is hard to get into.

    18 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    I don't care that the editorial was incorrect. They are like yo

    I don't care that the editorial was incorrect. They are like you, they make mistakes. The book sounds interesting to me. If I don't care for it after I give it a couple of chapters I will delete it. No big deal. It's free people! I gave it 4 stars because it "sounds" good.

    14 out of 65 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Did all the negative people who have commented on this Fridays



    Did all the negative people who have commented on this Fridays book actually read this book ? Of course NOT. I really get tired of all the presuming that ya all do. If your so smart and opinionated, read the book then post something that can be respected.

    13 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Takes place in 1453

    Overview says the year is 1453. The date error is in the Editorial Review. If you must be critical, at least be accurate.

    13 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    I SEE STUPID PEOPLE

    Five stars because of the morons on here that haven't even read this book and give it 1 star. If you don't think you will like it, get a life and move on.

    12 out of 72 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    A great read. But idiotic reviews.

    Not bad for a free friday book. I love historial books. I just don't get the mentally impaired reviewers....

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Good free friday

    At lest it is not much of a love story!!

    10 out of 71 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    by the reviews yes

    Yes good book

    8 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    5 stars cuz of morons!! Get real ppl..Read, research , give an i

    5 stars cuz of morons!! Get real ppl..Read, research , give an informed opinion..It's free...If you don't like this one go find another free book you do like.

    8 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Have to agree with LoveMyNookieSS, with a few other things... I

    Have to agree with LoveMyNookieSS, with a few other things...
    I'm sorry, this is not a review but just some things I've noticed. It would be a lot more pleasant shopping experience for many people if these things were avoided...
    *Turning a review board into some kind of role playing thing, that is what fan fiction sites are for, this should be for product feedback, I feel like marking these as spam, honestly. I don't want to hear about somebody's furry identities when all I want to know is if this is a book worth reading... Just save it for a Lion King Fetish board!
    *Typing random letters with a low rating... akflaskf, WHAT?!! Just give it stars if you don't have anything to say. Again, spam!
    *Saying "Has anyone read this, is it good??" How is this even a review? Just read the dang book or read other reviews.
    *Saying "this sucks" but have no reason why. A lot of typos?? Okay, that would be a good reason... You know, it helps. Anyway, if anyone else also feels annoyed with this and that it seems to take up too much time and space, I would voice that. I really enjoy Barnes and Noble and I would hate for it to be littered up like that...

    7 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    To 'won't open' Archive the book, then load it again.

    To 'won't open'
    Archive the book, then load it again.

    6 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    I NEED TO SAY SUMTING?!

    Why do so many peps give this book a five star rating but it says the rating is 2 1/2 stars?

    6 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    To "no confidence..."

    Read the editorial again...it says set in the 1450s, not 1945.

    6 out of 98 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Not very interesting.....

    Not very interesting.....

    5 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 162 Customer Reviews

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