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Cross and Crescent [Paperback]

Susan Shwartz
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 19.74 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Dec 16 2002
The center of the greatest empire in the world, the seat of Christianity, Byzantium is a revered city. Marked by gargantuan monuments to God, the most royal of princes, and the most affluent citizens, Byzantium cannot possibly ever fall. Now under siege by Islam, the Byzantine Empire must look to Christians from the West for help in winning back Jerusalem, the most hallowed of cities. The Byzantines must prevent the disintegration of their empire while protecting the faith of many, but at what expense?

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From Kirkus Reviews

Sequel to the 11th-century historical fantasy Shards of Empire (1996). The First Crusade is under way: A mixed force of Normans, Franks, and other northerners under Bohemond has assembled, intending to attack the Holy Land and wrest Jerusalem from the Turks. To Byzantine Emperor Alexius, however, surrounded by enemies, the Crusaders are just as threatening as the Turks themselves, so he engages linguist and warrior Theodoulos, adoptive son of his old friend and rival Leo Ducas, to accompany the Crusaders and report back. Alexius also appoints Binah, Leo's magic-powered adoptive daughter, to be a companion for his fiercely ambitious daughter Anna. Along the way, Theodoulos finds his own magic powers awakening (like his sister, he's the offspring of a goddess), and almost against his will he begins to like the barbarous but good-hearted northerners. As the Crusaders draw ever nearer to Jerusalem, Binah teaches Anna magic, while the latter schemes and plots and prepares herself to seize the throne when the opportunity presents itself. Though Shwartz's sympathies and interests manifestly lie with Anna, much of the book is simply a fictionalized account of the First Crusade. The upshot is schizophrenic and only moderately engaging. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

"Susan Shwartz is a sorceress surely without peer, weaving her spells of entrapment to the wonder of all." --Dennis L. McKiernan --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing... Oct. 25 1998
Format:Hardcover
The basic take-off point of the tale seems to be the machinations and ambitions of Anna Comnenus, the Byzantine princess who celebrated her father, the Emperor Alexius, in her well-known text, The Alexiad, itself a rather dry though intriguing document of the political twists & turns and military escapades undertaken by the Byzantine Greeks of that time. The promise of it all was great. But not so, the execution. There are elements of intrigue and fantasy and adventure here but they are not well meshed. Some of the characters were promising and I did like the attempt to depict the life of the Byzantines on their wharfs and in their palaces. But the mixing of pagan deities with the real world of religious Byzantium just didn't work for me. Although I like this kind of stuff, I put this one down about half way through -- though I tried mightily to see it through to the end. But I failed. And so, regrettably, did this book. -- SWM
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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing... Oct. 25 1998
By Stuart W. Mirsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The basic take-off point of the tale seems to be the machinations and ambitions of Anna Comnenus, the Byzantine princess who celebrated her father, the Emperor Alexius, in her well-known text, The Alexiad, itself a rather dry though intriguing document of the political twists & turns and military escapades undertaken by the Byzantine Greeks of that time. The promise of it all was great. But not so, the execution. There are elements of intrigue and fantasy and adventure here but they are not well meshed. Some of the characters were promising and I did like the attempt to depict the life of the Byzantines on their wharfs and in their palaces. But the mixing of pagan deities with the real world of religious Byzantium just didn't work for me. Although I like this kind of stuff, I put this one down about half way through -- though I tried mightily to see it through to the end. But I failed. And so, regrettably, did this book. -- SWM
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