This second book in Norwich's trilogy eloquently takes the reader through Byzantium's tangled and complex high period. The journey is intriguing, at times hair-raising (most memorably the desperate and sorry end of Michael V: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_V) and beautifully written throughout.
The author writes with an obvious passion, critical eye and at times a dry wit as he takes the reader over the years starting with the crowning of Charlemagne, through the phases of Iconoclasm and then the Great Schism between the eastern and western churches then on past the pivotal Battle of Manzikert. All through this the Byzantine imperial families are ever restless, making both sound and ludicrous tactical and political decisions that see the empire's borders continue to change in an almost fluid fashion. As I turned the last page I felt just as hooked as I ever have been on any work of fiction.
A fine piece....Continua