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The Terror of Constantinople (Aelric) Paperback – July 1, 2011
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About the Author
More About the Author
For Hodder & Stoughton, he has written the following six historical novels: "Conspiracies of Rome" (2008), "Terror of Constantinople" (2009), "Blood of Alexandria" (2010), "Sword of Damascus" (2011), "Ghosts of Athens" (2012), "Curse of Babylon" (2013). These have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Greek, Slovak, Hungarian, Indonesian, and Chinese.
As Sean Gabb, he has written these novels: "The Column of Phocas" (2006 - historical), "The Churchill Memorandum" (2011 - alternate history thriller), and "The Break" (post-apocalyptic science fiction). This novel was published in 2014, but has now been acquired by Caffeine Nights and withdrawn for republication in 2016. A fourth novel, "The York Deviation" (alternate history fantasy), is awaiting publication.
He also writes for Endeavour Press. His latest historical Novel, "Game of Empires," was published on the 15th May 2015. His next in this series - provisional title: "Death in Ravenna" - will be completed in July 2015.
You can follow him on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/richard.blake.7773
You can also follow him on Twitter - https://twitter.com/BlakeTheWriter
His personal website is - http://www.richardblake.me.uk/
Top Customer Reviews
"Terror of Constantinople" marks the second outing for Aelric, a young Saxon nobleman transplanted to early seventh century Rome from England. Initially sent on a mission with his mentor, the priest Maximin, to collect books for the Roman Church in Britain, clever, cynical Aelric has proven a useful tool for the venal, power-hungry clerics of Rome, and is not planning on returning to his bleak, benighted homeland anytime soon.
His previous assignment as investigator and hatchet man for the Dispensator of the Church of Rome successfully completed, Aelric looks forward to settling into his nice new home in one of the few remaining suburbs of Rome still in working order. He's coining it on the trading market, collecting books by the dozen for his library, and about to marry his pretty, ditzy mistress and become a father. Life looks good.
However the Dispensator hasn't finished with Aelric yet, and blackmails him into accepting a new assignment, this time in Constantinople. Aelric soon finds that beneath its sophisticated veneer the city is suffocating in fear, controlled by a terrifying secret service which scoops up people at random on charges of treachery, sending them to torture and death in the cells beneath the sinister Ministry. Agents provocateur infilitrate every level of society and citizens are encouraged to denounce each other at will.Read more ›
First and foremost for me was the hugely entertaining narrative that Blake presents. The book is written in the first person so we hear all of the events through the commentaries of the acerbic, witty & cynical Aelric. He has a refreshingly blunt view of life and describes his circumstances and adventures accordingly. For the most part his comments and conversations are pricelessly funny. I do wish though that the author had been a little more careful to keep his descriptions in 7th. Century speak. His references to pregnancy as "putting her up the duff", going to sleep as "crashing out" and, perhaps most heinous to me, Aelric asks his attendants on a couple of occasions to "bring a takeaway". Hope it wasn't Pizza Hutt!
This is a who-dun-it and I have to say that for the most part I was even more confused about what was going on than the hapless Aelric. Sadly, as he cleverly gets to the bottom of affairs and ties up loose ends at the end of the book, he wasn't quite clever enough to make things clear to me. I remain equally confused now. Not Mr Blake's or Aelric's fault, I am probably too dumb to keep up. I did feel that the whole conspiracy concept for the book, concerning Aelric's assignment, was a little on the weak side.
Also have a sleight beef that our principle hero is a little too larger than life. He is quickly transformed from minor clerk, to Acting Permanent Legate (#2 in the Constantinople catholic church hierachy) and then to Commander in Chief of the defence of the entire city. Really! He is unbeatable in a sword fight, or a brawl, and I half expected him on a couple of occasions to whip off his tunic to reveal his Superman outfit!
However, I really do like this book. It is highly entertaing and I recommend it and look forward to the final book in the trilogy.
A real page turner, an historical thriller for once set in an unusual epoch. Only flaw: is the author sure there were shopping malls with annexed restaurants in Constantinople, 610 A. D.? Apart from that, a worthy read!
The environment into which he is thrown is suggested by Aelric's description:
"According to what I've picked up on the Exchange, ...the Danube frontier has collapsed and Slavs are pouring into the Balkans. The Persians have invaded Mesopotamia and may already be in Syria. The Exarch of Africa is in revolt against the Emperor, and his people have taken Egypt. These are all converging on Constantinople and it's an open bet who will get there first. Whoever does get there will find an emperor who is incompetent for every purpose but murdering anyone who might have some ready cash to steal, or who may have given one of his statues a funny look."
The imperial capital is torn by struggle between the papacy and the emperor, between the emperor and the Exarch of Africa, and the Machiavellian maneuvers of the old eunuch Theophanes (a high official to the Master of Offices--in contemporary terms something like chief of staff to the chief minister) to play all the factions against one another in pursuit of his own shadowy agenda.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first thing I liked and what really impelled me to start reading the series is that it covers a period in history that I wanted to know more about. Read morePublished 16 months ago by John Cawston
If I wanted to write book reviews I would have majored in literature instead of engineering. But then I probably couldn't buy books.Published on October 4, 2013 by Joy Alwan