Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: S. W. Douglas

An Agony of Flame and the Fury and the Mire

Pages: 440 Ratings:
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A two-part climax to The Last Vigil, An Agony of Flame and The Fury and the Mire, concludes the story of the fall of Constantinople. Here is an intense evocation, both of the gruelling eight-week siege itself and of the chaotic as well as terrifying aftermath.

In part three, Niccolo and Demetrius serve on the great Roman land walls, enduring bombardment and nocturnal hand-to-hand combat. Nestor-Iskander reappears, a deserter now from the Turkish camp. Niccolo is badly wounded, recovering in Theodora’s house in the suburb of Studion. Then comes the night of the final Ottoman assault when, after a valiant defence, treachery leads to massacre (including the death of Demetrius) and Niccolo finds himself among a scatter of survivors. 

Part four centres on Niccolo’s frantic attempts to find a way through a city, now being systematically sacked. Moreover, he must think of others. Demetrius might be dead but Nestor-Iskander has survived and demands refuge. Then there is Theodora locked up with the faithful in Hagia Sophia. Can Niccolo reach her before the marauding enemy? So, he travels deeper and deeper into his adopted city’s heart of darkness. Nestor finds protectors, loses, then regains them. Theodora is found then lost forever. Mehmet appears once more; Cinnamon never reappears. Finally, after the city has been overwhelmed and pacified, Niccolo sets sail westward across the Mediterranean, not home to Venice but to an Atlantic shore where a new age of exploration is about to dawn.  

The author was born in 1952. He read English at Exeter College, Oxford and went on to write his doctoral thesis there on the poetry of James Merrill. He has previously published four collections of poetry and two novels. He is married with a son and daughter.

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