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Agent of Byzantium (English Edition)

Agent of Byzantium (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Harry Turtledove

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In a Moslem-free universe where Constantinople never fell, the Byzantine Empire has not only survived but flourished, developing technology at an earlier date than in our universe. And spreading its power and influence throughout the world. But Byzantium has enemies who are jealous of its glory and would like nothing better than to bring it down and loot its treasures.
Basil Argyros, Byzantium's top agent, as his hands full, thwarting un-Byzantine plots and making the world safe for the Byzantine Empire.


Fast moving adventure in a parallel universe by the author of the 'Case of the Toxic Spell Dump'.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 456 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 234 Seiten
  • Verlag: Gateway (27. Juni 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00D8CY814
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #184.990 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.8 von 5 Sternen  16 Rezensionen
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good Alternate History Fun 26. Oktober 1998
Von A. Ross - Veröffentlicht auf
A great collection of seven stories set in an early fourteenth-century version of Earth where Islam is absent. The Byzantine Empire retained its eastern holdings and swallowed up most of western Europe as well. Their main rival is the Persian Empire which also never fell in Turtledove's well thought-out alternate world. The stories span 15 years in the life of Basil, a soldier and eventual "agent" (read spy) for the Byzantine Empire. Great fun!
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Name's Argyros, Basil Argyros 29. September 2007
Von Caesar M. Warrington - Veröffentlicht auf
Imagine a 13th century Mediterranean and Middle East...

-Where the territories of western and southern Europe won back by the Romans during the 6th century reign of Justinian were not only maintained but expanded.
-Muhammad never developed Islam. Instead he converted to Christianity, becoming a holy man, and is now venerated as St. Moaumet.

In the absence of Islam's rise, both the Roman and Sassanid Persian (which has by now engulfed the entire Arabian Peninsula) empires remain as the two superpowers, existing in a sort of medieval cold war.

Into this world comes Basil Argyros, an agent of the Magistrianoi, the imperial secret police; sometimes he acts as a soldier, but more often he's a spy. During the course of his assignments as an agent of Imperial security, Basil also makes some exciting discoveries, thus making him an agent in another sense: as one who brings change and advancement to the Empire. From the Franks he steals a new weapon, recently cooked up by their monks--gunpowder. He returns from the lands of the Asiatic Jurchen nomads north of the Black Sea with an instrument we know as the telescope. He delivers to the emperor the secrets of printing, a recent Persian invention they've been using to foment insurrection in the Empire's eastern provinces. What perhaps is the most fascinating of all is Basil's witnessing the discovery of inoculation, made during a time of catastrophic plague in Constantinople.

Basil's nemesis in many of these stories is the beautiful and deviously clever Persian spy, Mirrane. As the two of them match wits, they develop a mutual respect and admiration, eventually falling deeply in love.

The Baen paperback edition contains the following seven stories:

"The Eyes of Argos"
"Strange Eruptions"
"Pillar of Cloud, Pillar of Fire"
"Unholy Trinity"

Only this edition contains the story "Pillar of Cloud, Pillar of Fire;" however, that story can also be found in Harry Turtledove's alt-history collection DEPARTURES (which also includes "Islands in the Sea," the story about Muhammad's aforementioned conversion to the Christian Faith.)

As someone with a Ph.D in Byzantine studies, Harry Turtledove knows the peoples and times upon which he bases this alternative world, making it a fun, fascinating read.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Great alternate history from the master 26. April 1997
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Harry Turtledove knows his history, and it is the mark of a great writer that he can make you interested in what has been a rather obscure part of the historical record. Most of us are familiar with the concept of the Byzantine Empire, but know little of its actual nuts and bolts. Mr. Turtledove presents a set of connected short stories in which his hero foils diverse machinations against his employer. I was intrigued, and looked stuff up in the encyclopedia afterwards, and found the whole thing quite fun
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen One of Turtledove's first works 18. Juli 2008
Von Bill Hensler - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The reader is given several stories but all about Basil, a soldier for Byzantium. Basil loses his family in a plague and changes his career to a secret agent. The part where Basil loses his family to a plague is quite touching. I give a salute to the writing of Turtledove that he spares the reader the death of Basil's son by having Basil give him opium for the pain until the end, the child merely stops breathing instead of going through the agony of small pox.

Now, this is important. In one of the stories its found how to innoculate the population from diseases. Small Pox destroys large amounts of Byzantium's populace. This discovery is make 600 years before the discovery in Westerm Europe. So, the people running the Byzantium government work to insure the health of their citizens. The Byzantium army is spared the ravages of disease and is able to beat threats from Persian armies.

Harry goes into Greek fire, the secret of Byzantium's Naval success for years. It was natural that Basil is sent on a mission to discover the secret of black powder. This is the subject of one story and how it is employed in battles.

Basil also works to check the forces of Persia, what we now know as modern Iran. Strangely, while this story was written in 1987 the fact is the threat from Iran (Persia) seems just as real today. Basil battles a Persian spy who is quite like a Soviet spy master (remember, this was written in 1987). Basil is once again the hero and checks this threat from Persia and gains a lover to replace his late beloved wife.

Basil is also involved with one of the most weaking things that happen to Byzantium. It was a religious problem with Christianity and that involved the worship of Icons. People would worship the Icon of the cross instead of Jesus the son of God. While this does not seem of great concern to modern readers but form a historical context it's a deadly threat to Byzantium itself. Religious conflicts with the Roman Catholic church weaken Byzantium and let it be invaded by both Muslims and Western Europeans. Turtledove comes up with an solution to the icon problem that would actually not be available until the 16th century. Had the 16th printing press technology been availiable in the 12th Century then Muslim soldiers would not be standing in a ruined Constantinople in 1453.

Dr. Turtledove gives some sound historical reasons on how close it was for Byzantium (actually the real name was close to Romania)to being more of an eternal empire than the famous Roman empire that it outlasted by nearly 1000 years. Had just a few events and forces of nature been different then modern Islam would be a shawdow of its present self, the Protestant reformation would not have been needed, and we could have avoided lots of wars.

This is the middle of summer. This book is a good read and perfect for those summer vacations.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen early Turtledove: a classic! 13. Februar 2013
Von Lynne B. Tagawa - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I have read a number of Harry Turtledove's alternative history novels. Many were good, even great.

But this early novel which follows the events in the life of a government agent in an alternate Byzantium--unaffected by the tidal wave of Islam as Mohammed became a Christian in this timeline--just sparkles.

It is written in a more concise fashion than some of his later ones. Also, it is something you can hand to your teens. Unfortunately, some of his other really good ones (the Hawaii WWII series, for example) have too much sexual content. It can be frustrating to read something that is actually kind of educational and then it turns out to be R or even X rated.

Finally, it is a true hybrid of alternative history and classic sci-fi: the Byzantine protagonist just happens to be around when certain things are discovered. Only, it wasn't Galileo who developed the telescope and turned it into a practical scientific tool in this timeline . . .
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