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Customer Review

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars deep look at the once thriving empire, April 30, 2013
This review is from: The Sultan of Byzantium (Paperback)
The Sultan of Byzantium
Selçuk Altun
Telegram Books, Apr 16 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9781846591488

In 1453 Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI led the defense of Constantinople against the Ottoman horde. He died in combat and the over millennium old empire died with him. However, his body was never found; leading to a mythos of the Immortal Emperor who escaped death and the beleaguered city by ship.

Over five centuries later, a thirtyish Istanbul professor reflects on his growing up as the child of a Turk and Canadian who divorced when he cheated on her. However, his look back at his child hood ends when sexagenarian Nikos Askaris meets with him to lecture him on the true history of the Byzantine Empire after the Ottoman conquest. The professor begins to research all he can on the empire until he finally ventures to the ruins of Tekfur Palace in Istanbul where he meets the Nomophylax Guardians of the Law who have kept the Byzantine throne and treasure safe in secret as decreed by the will of Constantine who died over two decades after the defeat. They give him a box in which he must find six tiles that fit the slots. If successful, he will be the next emperor if he fails he will be dead. He begins his global quest for the tile.

The Sultan of Byzantium is a fascinating way to tell the history and influence even today of the Byzantine Empire. Nor for everyone as the action in spite of the quest is muted, readers will relish the Byzantine heritage and historical information though that supersedes the professor's journey as Selçuk Altun, using metafiction, provides a deep look at the once thriving empire.

Harriet Klausner
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 30, 2013 5:50:48 AM PDT
"They give him a box in which he must find six tiles that fit the slots."

What slots? Also, he must find the six tiles in the box? Well, that's convenient...someone's already collected the tiles for him.

"If successful, he will be the next emperor if he fails he will be dead."

OK, here is a sentence that actually COULD use a semicolon. Try it after "emperor." Otherwise, you start reading and you see "he will be the next emperor if he fails."

Also, RELISH.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2013 10:45:43 AM PDT
Dona says:
Another fake review from this well known person. Famous for 28,780 of these. THATS A LOT of 'reviews'.!
If this book looks interesting, get more information about it.

This is not a comment on this book, just a warning about these many many fake reviews that litter amazon.

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 1:12:01 PM PDT
B. Craven says:
Yet another fake "review" from Harriet, who got this book free from the publisher, and didn't disclose this fact, which is required by the FTC (and Amazon). More importantly, she didn't bother to READ it.

If you HAVE read this book, please write a review, so your fellow readers won't have to rely on this made-up "review" by a notorious fraud. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2013 1:16:29 PM PDT
Book flap?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2013 2:19:01 PM PDT
That covers every HK review, of course. But I lurk in the Top Reviewers Forum and have seen you posting there so I am pretty sure that you already knew that!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2013 6:22:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2013 6:24:50 PM PDT
I've only been working the TR threads for about two weeks but already it's ruining my reputation! Hope that says more about the boards than my own behavior, but I've learned that to say anything, anything, no matter how commonplace or commonsensical, is to get slimed by at least a few.

I haven't read the book at issue and won't pretend to review it. I did read a book about the Fourth Crusade several years ago and reviewed it, and at some point would like to know more about Byzantium. Sadly, looking at reviews on Amazon may not be the best way anymore, precisely because of the fraud factor.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2013 6:51:51 PM PDT
A friend of mine who prefers scholarly books says the reviews for them are usually pretty good. He claims not to have encountered much reviewing f***d. (*** because comments on HK reviews that include that particular word tend to get axed by Amazon.) So perhaps you will have better luck if you are looking for a historical account?

I can't suggest any books in particular, though. I'm only in the comments section because it's an HK review. I have to think all day at work so I tend to read pretty light fare (fantasy and lately, some mysteries) at home.

I see fakery mostly in reviews of self-published fiction (the one-hit wonders, the friends and family types, etc.), in genre and/or popular fiction (i.e., anything reviewed by HK), and once a pretty bad case in ice cream makers, where someone who had a beef with either KitchenAid or Cuisinart (I forget which) went around and wrote negative reviews of all of the products from that manufacturer and accused all the positive reviewers of working for the manufacturer.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2013 7:17:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2013 7:20:21 PM PDT
Yeah, I got majorly attacked when I mentioned that "rule of thumb" I didn't review free downloads--confusing experience with dictat, messenger with message, I was accused of not giving new authors a chance. (I could have understood the simple illogic of being savaged as a snob, but not giving them a chance, really!).

Censor bots are usually easily outwitted. How about "frawd."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2013 5:55:32 AM PDT
I had to put in my profile that I don't review self-published fiction. I'm hovering just below 3000, which you wouldn't think would rate a lot of attention, but I was getting a couple of e-mails a week (fewer since the profile message). I DO like new authors, but prefer to go with ones who got publishing deals with traditional publishing houses. Editing, formatting, readability, and all.

One way to get around the censor bot, we have found, is to link to a product: Fraud. Didn't want to do that in my last message and be thoroughly confusing as to why I linked to a book of essays that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. (We're very tolerant of off-topic discussions in HK comments, though.)

Anyway, I should probably get to work. I have a rather long and tedious task ahead of me, but at least we get to bill the hours out to the client.
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