Thursday, 19 April 2012

Constantinople 1453, A Place Called Armageddon, C. C. Humphreys

Publishers: Orion Books

Pages: 507

Main Characters:

Gregoras, Leilah, Achmed, Hamza,

Constantinople 1453, A Place Called Armageddon is as the title suggests, set during the siege of Constantinople in 1453. The story follows Gregoras, an exiled Greek noblemen wrongly accused of treason who now serves as a mercenary under the Geneon leader Giovanni Giustiniani Longo. Gregoras needs one more campaign to finally gain the money he needs to build the house of his dreams and eagerly seeks to find it under Longo. However, when the Geneon tells Gregoras the next campaign will be fighting the Turks in the defence of Constantinople, Gregoras refuses to join it. He does not want to return to the city that he was born in, the city he loved and served, but the city that abandoned him by wrongly accusing him of treason and the city that cast him into exile.

Unfortunately for Gregoras destiny is not on his side. The great sorceress Leilah has other plans for him. Knowing war is coming to Constantinople (because she foresaw it,) Leilah uses the opportunity to gain a prize that has been hidden in Constantinople for centuries, the works of Geber and the method of turning metal into gold! However, as she is a woman, living in a society where women do not have the same rights as men. Leilah must twist destiny to her will, and use the two most important men of that destiny (Gregoras and Mehmet II) to gain the prize she needs. Because of this, Gregoras sees himself returning to Constantinople and facing the ghosts of his past, the biggest of these his twin brother Theon.

With an epic title like Constantinople 1453, A Place Called Armageddon I had hoped that this would be an epic book. Luckily for me it was! This book pulls you in from the start with the character of Gregoras. A nose-less nobleman working as a mercenary, it sparks all sorts of questions from the very beginning! Why does he not have a nose? Why with a name that can be traced back centuries is he a mercenary? It draws you into this hero who is obviously flawed because of his past but who could become great with his future.  Leilah’s plot to acquire the works of Geber also make this book that much more interesting to read. It makes it not just a book about the siege of Constantinople, but a book that is filled with love, betrayal and murder, whilst linking the plots between all of the most important characters into one.

For me this was a brilliant read. I think anyone who is interested in the siege of Constantinople should read this book. It really brings the siege to life, telling the tale of the bravery of the defenders and the determination of the attackers. Brilliant book, can’t wait to read one of Humphreys’ other books Vlad, The Epic Novel of the Real Dracula, as some of the characters from this book merge into it as it is set around the same time. Also because of the flawed hero Gregoras, I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of Bernard Cornwell as his heroes also tend to be flawed!

For author’s official website click here

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