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The High City by Cecelia Holland
Review by Mel Jacob
Forge Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765305596
Date: 06 January 2009 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

Prolific novelist Cecelia Holland has crafted another thriller historical novel, The High City. Set in ninth century Byzantium, it profiles the rise of Basil, the Emperor, and the life of Raef, a Scythian barbarian of Irish heritage. It contrasts the barbarism of the civilized world against those called barbarians and uncultured. The rich detail immerses the reader in that time and place.

From official release/information:

From back of book: It is the early years of the reign of Basil II, who became one of the most successful, and most feared, Byzantine emperors. But for now, Basil rules as a co-emperor with his brother Constantine, and makes war on a would-be usurper, Bardas Phokas, son of a general whom Basil supplanted.

Basil's most trusted troops are foreign mercenaries, the Varangian guard hired from the North. Rus and Nosemen, Viking raiders and wild horsemen from the steppes, they fall upon the elegant city of Constantinople like wolves on a garden party. Among them is the wily young son of an Irish slave, who comes to the notice of the emperor's wife. But being noticed by an angry emperor is not safe at all.

(Source: Forge Books)

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