Stephen Lawhead - Byzantium

Brian G Turner

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I read this a while back and quite enjoyed it: Stephen Lawhead - Byzantium

I've not read either Stephen Lawhead or historical fiction before, so it was a good introduction to what the genre could achieve.

However, I've heard varying reports on Lawheads other works, especially his Arthurian saga.

Also, any more historical fiction covering Byzantine culture? I know there's Count Belisarius by Robert Graves, but the use of servant Point of View I found pretty poor and I never got past the first few chapters.
 
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Lacedaemonian

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I read Lawhead when I was younger and found his fantasy works to be tired cliched fare. However, they were an easy read and I did read five or six of them before knocking them on the head. I assume Byzantium is his best work.
 

Brian G Turner

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I'm afraid I have no idea how it compares to others - but generally I'm pretty quick to criticse a book, but overall didn't have problems at all with this one.

It follows an Irish Monk, who is picked to travel with his brothers to present a gift to the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

Somewhere along the way, he ends up enslaved by Vikings, and ends up helping an Arabian prince against court intrigue.

I felt there was some excellent characterisation in and plot development, filled with little moments I somehow found memorable. I also found the treatment of various cultures was very even-handed and well done, despite something of a minor evangelical streak.

I certainly recommend the book - you may especially find the Viking characters to be to your liking, Lace. :)
 

Rane Longfox

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I greatly enjoyed the first three books of his arthurian stuff. The last two were all weird and spiritualistic and far too far over my head at that stage though.
I wouldn't claim they were hugely complex or challenging, but a good read, and cleverly amalgamated the Atlanean and Arthurian ledgends:)
 

Snowdog

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I have to say that I never finished this book. I can't remember why now: maybe the lead character was too passive, or maybe it was the depiction of Byzantium which seemed to draw on all the typical Western misconceptions and myths rather than the reality.

Maybe it got better after I put it down though.

If anyone's interested in the history of Byzantium, I highly recommend John Julius Norwich's Byzantium trilogy.
 

Brian G Turner

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Anyone else looked at this book?

As the Sarantine books of Guy Gavriel Kay have been mentioned a few times, thought I'd bring this thread back up as recommended reading. :)
 

Stephen Palmer

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I read Byzantium some time ago, and did enjoy it. I don't care though for the OTT Christian message, although, of course, the man is a Christian... :rolleyes:
 

Brian G Turner

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I read Byzantium some time ago, and did enjoy it. I don't care though for the OTT Christian message, although, of course, the man is a Christian... :rolleyes:
Same here, but remember the monk's trying to explain Christianity to the Vikings as hilarious, as well as the Vikings' subsequent awe about his "god" on matters of gambling and violence. :)
 

thaddeus6th

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I recently read the sample of the Sarantine book. It's clearly very closely based on reality (Greens and Blues feature, as does theological pondering and court intrigue). I'm mildly surprised he didn't just go for a straight historical novel (or alternate history), as Byzantium has plenty of little-known episodes of woe and cunning.

On Lawhead, I've not read his Byzantium stuff but have read (some time ago) his Arthurian, er, quintology(?). I thought it was decent enough without being spectacular.
 

svalbard

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I read Lawhead's Byzantium years ago. The details of the story are rather hazy for me, but I do remember enjoying the story especially his description of the Vikings. One vague memory for me is their arrival at Constaninople and the Vikings pondering how they will sack the place, all 20 or so of them. It was a nice comic touch if I remember correctly.
 

Brian G Turner

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One vague memory for me is their arrival at Constaninople and the Vikings pondering how they will sack the place, all 20 or so of them. It was a nice comic touch if I remember correctly.
I thought that was quite brilliant. :D

I still consider this to be something of an under-rated book - as a standalone thought it well written and enjoyable.
 
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