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Tue 05 Oct 2004
Category : Commentary/Byzantium.txt
I've come to the last page of A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich. I must confess that I bought this book for its cover and hadn't expected to enjoy it quite so much. It's got nothing to do with Macs, business or technology, but it's a good book to start with if you're interested in delving further into the history of the Balkans and Turkey.
From the book's last paragraphs, which summarises its theme -
Justinian and his Empress Theodora were probably the model for Guy Gavriel Kay's richly colourful Emperor Valerius and Empress Alixana, in his excellent re-creation of fifth century Byzantium, "Sailing to Sarantium" (The Sarantine Mosaic - Parts 1 and 2).
Guy Gavriel Kay's books are usually found among the Fantasy and Science Fiction section, but he's miles ahead of William Gibson, in terms of readability, believeability and, most of all, ideas. My favourite of the lot remains the first Kay book that I've ever read, Tigana, which I found by chance in a second-hand book store (no, not Jean Tigana of France and Tigana-Platini-Giresse-Fernandez fame). Others that I believe will give people a good read include The Songs of Arbonne and The Lions of Al-Rassan.
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