The Viking incursions of the United Kingdoms was possibly one the major events that impacted trade and culture in Europe. Folks who have been following the series – Vikings about the norsemen and how they changed politics in England would be interested in a new series by James Nelson.
History is written by the winners. It’s quite possible that the then documented history is through the eyes of the winning side.
Reading Mahabharata, one would naturally assume that Duryodhana was an evil prince who oppressed his subjects and was extremely conniving in nature.
My interest in Historical titles was piqued by books such as Alexander, Mahabharata, Ramayana and Camelot. However, when I saw Constantinopolis by James D. Shipman, I knew I had to read through this book.
Settled between Europe and Turkey, Istanbul (the erstwhile Constantinople) is right between the crusaders of Europe and the Ottoman army. The tale of Constantinople and its eventual fall at the hands of the Ottoman empire makes for an interesting story.
The Prelude to Constantinopolis
The author does a good job of explaining the history behind the fall of Constantinople. The reason behind Mehmet’s (the then Ottoman emperor) hunger for taking on Constantinople. The reason behind why the Vatican sent such a meagre force to help out the besieged city. The explanation of King Constantinople and the daily frustrations he faced in holding the Ottoman empire at bay.
People know of the Trojan War because of the horse, the malware and the movie. However, this tale bellies the same upheavals (if not more), the entire siege had both the sides teetering on the brink of destruction and coming back up to save the day to fight again.king
Sieges take time and well defended cities take months to fall. Likewise even this city which had some of the most formidable defenses took 6 months to finally fall in the hands of the Ottoman Turks. It’s not as if the Ottoman war machine was running in perfect synchronization.
They had their own set of problems, and the politicking within the large empire was subtle and this victory ensured that Mehmet become the all powerful emperor that he was destined to be, surpassing the feats of his father who was loved (and feared) by all his people.
Not just a Story, but History
All in all, the book is not just a tale, but also tells us the truth behind the events that led to the great city’s fall, and the subsequent rise in the Ottoman empire’s impact on Eurasian trade. If you love historical tales, do not forget to pick up this book!
The Mahabharata Quest
Last month, I read 6 books – thanks to the Kindle Unlimited library I had subscribed to. Ample food for thought for some book reviews. I would have loved to go through some classic sci-fi books, however, I chanced upon some historical and mythology books, one of them being The Mahabharata Quest.
Since I had already read through a series of books on Alexander, and was thoroughly piqued to see how Mahabharata is related to Alexander.
Turns out, it wasn’t! Read on to know more :)
The Mahabharata Quest
The Mahabharata Quest is a previous hit book by the same author, and it involves the same characters in another sequel.
The great thing about this book is how the author has interwoven the past and the present into one coherent novel. The book is about Alexander’s declaration of being a god (son of Zeus-AmmonRa), and how his prowess in battle could be attributed by scientific reasons.
I will not divulge into much details here, suffice to say that I started reading this book to see how Alexander is related to Mahabharata. Turns out the plot characters were connecting the two books. The good part about the book is that the author has done an excellent job of keeping a fast narrative and has the readers interested through the book till the end.
Yes, there are parts where the scenes seem to Bollywood like, but that’s entertainment for you. No, I am not a grammar nazi and I won’t complain about the bad English. If I can read C’Bag, then I might as well pay homage to the rest of the Indian authors.
Give this book a read, you might just enjoy it! Please keep in mind to not nitpick about mythology and history being intermingled like this, the narrative style is fast and something that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Reading to me is a lifelong practice, and I have already written about it some time back on this blog. Over a period of time, my family has been accumulating a series of books … so much so that, it was hightime we did a spring cleaning of our house to make some space (now with kids, where do you put so many toys?).
On a lazy Saturday afternoon, during the Diwali weekend, I saw this book lying unread on our bookshelf. Chetan Bhagat is an author who did huge waves with the launch of his first book, however book after book have been thrashed. There is something about CB and numbers.
For some reason, I had stayed away from reading Isaac Asimov. Probably because I had seen some of the poorly done movies based on his books. I finally gave in, and started reading Asimov … Foundation being one of the first novels I got my hands upon.
The story is set in the far future (as is true with most Asimov novels), where the world (or the galaxy in this case) is ruled by an uni-polar government. The human race has advanced far and wide across the galaxy, and has inhabited many planets (25 million and counting). Technology has advanced so much that it is making humans complacent, and hence the cause of its own decay.
This macro-view is held by a visionary (Hari Seldon), and he creates a mission to set two different worlds set at the ends of the galaxy to re-build the human civilization after its fall. The story takes us through the different phases any civilization will face in its rise to power. The government structures, the role of religion in controlling the masses, the role of science and trade in conquering other civilizations.
The original foundation trilogy is very well written and Isaac Asimov shows why till this date he is one of the top read authors.
Get your copy here!