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.
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.
King Henry VIII had come into power in the 15th century. Now being a ruler who commands (and demands) respect, he also participated in jousting matches. In one such jousting match he was heavily injured and had almost lost the ability to climb stairs. In order to continue functioning as a ruler, he had a special system of blocks and tackles made, wherein his servants could lift him up and down the stairs. One would wonder why not simply lift him on four shoulders and carry him … to those I say, you need to know how heavy he was … 30 stone, that’s 190 kgs!
The same principle is used in stair lifts these days. A stair lift is a device used to transport wheelchairs and people up and down a flight of stairs. The lift is attached to a rail which either runs along the ground or along the wall, and it is strong enough to bear the weight of one person. Here’s a brief schematic of how it works … simple and yet ingenious. The system involves a chair attached to a rail (which goes along the stair case), in most cases the rail is taking the support of the wall, however it can also be running parallel to the ground. The individual has to sit on the chair, and he is transported along the stairway.
This device shows great promise … especially in nations where the average age is on the other side of 30. A device that can help the disabled, the elderly to easily navigate stairs. Now this is an interesting device. Technology that not only enables, but also aids the needy.
This is not a new technology, there are companies out there like this one for example, who have the capabilities to fully customize a stairlift in your home. Not only will they make a custom design for you, but also deploy it at your home. This device seems to bring joy to so many people.
Kudos to Henry VIII for coming up with this solution, and thanks for modern manufacturing, this device is not just meant for the royalty anymore!