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Queen of Cities Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in New York City, Andrew Novo holds a doctorate in history from the University of Oxford. He is Assistant Professor of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs. He is a specialist in the history of the Mediterranean world, both ancient and modern. Queen of Cities is his first novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 668 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1603810765
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Coffeetown Press (January 22, 2010)
  • Publication Date: January 22, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00361EWHC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #752,407 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was disappointed that Amazon chose to include this book in the History section because I feel it should be listed under Fiction. Mr. Novo chose a difficult subject and managed to do a decent job considering it was his first book; but I found the dialog between the characters to be stiff and unnatural. The most distracting thing for me was the number of grammatical errors. I don't believe I have ever read a book with so many errors; "then" and "than" are not interchangeable in English and under no circumstances would anyone ever "slam his first onto a table" he would use his "fist". Whenever I hit one of these distracting "speed-bumps" I would have to go back several paragraphs and start again trying to get back into the mood of the story.

The inability to edit your own writing is not unusual, that is why publishing houses hire editors. But the one assigned to Mr. Novo by Coffee Town Press needs to find a different career. He is certainly not helping Mr. Novo's career.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bravo to Andrew Novo! His debut novel is impeccably researched and vividly written. He brings to life the exotic and tumultuous Byzantine world and a dark, tragic chapter in human history, full of drama and colorful characters--must reading for diplomats and statesmen dealing with the still tumultuous Middle East, as well as for students and all lovers of historical fiction. Novo combines the best of Barbara Tuchman and a (might have been) Verdi opera!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Queen of Cities is a dynamic, explosive novel that presents history as it happened. Intrigue, betrayal and loyalty, heroes and villains all pull the reader into this world changing conflict. Experience the desperate hopes of the defenders as they repel repeated attacks against the city walls. Mourn with them for the loss of human lives and of a civilization brought to a shattering end. Be inspired by the strong, dedicated leaders who gave all for the people entrusted to their care. I recommend this for all who love a great book.
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Format: Paperback
If you're a fan of history, but oftentimes think it drags along at a pace more comfortable for earthworms, then you'll find this book enjoyable. Novo doesn't skimp on the historical details, nor do they get left behind in the interest of the "story." Instead there is a weaving here between fact and fiction that is comfortable and page-turning. Sure, we wanted to know more about Caterina, about the love story; but maybe Novo is giving the romantic novel authors something to do. He, instead, focuses on the guts, the glory, the battles. It's the stuff great films are made of (hint, hint).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andrew Novo has done an excellent job making historical events and characters come alive in this very readable book. He brings both an historian's eye for detail, as well as the playwright's sense of praxis and timing in giving life to the story. While this may not be a "peer reviewed" text in what gets new scholars tenure in academia today, it does something much more worthwhile: it creates interest in literature and a passion for the study of history, politics, war, religion, culture, geography, and art. Not bad for the first work of this type from a young Oxford Ph.D. We can only hope he continues to write from the heart, and not just for what his academic peers demand.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The problem with historical fiction is that we already know the outcome. Even before starting Queen of Cities, we know the end result. In a straight academic-type history book, that doesn't matter. But in a fictional account which takes a historical event and breathes life into it, the mere common knowledge of how those events played out tends to take away writing tools such as literary tension.

Given that, I was rather pleasantly surprised at how the author was able to breathe life into the story of the 1453 siege of Constantinople. This was one of those books that I simply could not put down, reading it into the early morning hours while I should have been sleeping. It was gripping, mesmerizing, and fascinating. As I read, I was continually stopping to contemplate the action being described, wondering what I would have done had I been there. As a retired Marine who is fairly familiar with the city of Istanbul, I kept thinking and re-thinking steps I might have taken had I been either defending the city or been on the besieging side.

The main events and people were a very accurate recital of the siege given what we know from history. But to bring the story to life, the author had to invent thoughts, dialogue, and other factors which would explain the motivations and actions taken by the various individuals. This is why the book is historical fiction rather than history. But the author did a masterful job of creating these additions. They lent weight to the true story without detracting from the facts as we know them. I realize that this is not a traditional history book, but I think the presentation is such that more people would be willing to read it, and the more people understand the events of our past, the better we can cope with our future.
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Format: Paperback
Novo has built a compelling story around the events of a city's dramatic fall. The story of the fall of Constantinople is told from the perspective of many key players in this epic history. Giovanni Giustiniani, the dashing, erudite Genoese military advisor, is perhaps the most finely wrought of the characters. His relationship with the city, its Emperor, and a long-lost love brings the broad sweep of ancient geopolitical history down to a human level. And the battle descriptions keep you turning the pages. One of my favorite vignettes was the subplot (no pun intended) on the mines and countermines, a sort of mini-battle waged underneath the walls of the city between a Serbian sapper hired by the Turks to undermine the city walls and a Scottish sapper hired by the Byzantines to protect them. We understand implicitly that war in these times was a war between mercenaries. It was an age before nationalism. An era before the rise of the modern nation-states. And individuals like these unlikely adversaries fought for gold as much as glory.

The reader comes away with a sense of the geography and grand scale of this siege on land and sea, a battle between continents. Finally, it is a worthwhile read for its relevance to today's world with Greece seemingly weakening into oblivion and Turkey rising to regional prominence. I found Queen of Cities highly enjoyable and hope that Novo writes another historical novel centered on the ancient Mediterranean world that he evokes so well.
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