Humphreys (Vlad: The Last Confession) offers a strong work of historical fiction set in the 19450s, about the battle of Mehmet, sultan of the Ottoman Turks, to conquer Constantinople, a target that has eluded the Muslims for generations. He approaches Constantinople with an insurmountable force. Standing against him is a unified front of Greeks, Italian allies and mercenaries, including Gregoras Lascaris, exiled from Constantinople after being wrongly accused of treachery, and disfigured. He is brought against his will to defend his city, find a lost manuscript for his new lover, Leilah, and confront Sofia, the woman he left behind. He discovers that Sofia is married to his treacherous brother Theon, and has a son who is actually Gregoras's. Gregoras fights to defend his city, regain his honor, and protect the people he loves, but he risks losing all against the inexorable encroachment of the Turks. Humphreys' skill with historical fiction is apparent on every page, and his ability to handle the large cast without tripping up readers is impressive. While the conquest is a foregone conclusion, Humphreys creates suspense and empathy for both sides of the conflict. Readers will enjoy reading a little-heard tale. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012 Release date: 09/01/2012 Genre: Fiction
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