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Byzantium | [Stephen R. Lawhead]

Byzantium

Although born to rule, Aidan lives as a scribe in a remote Irish monastery on the far, wild edge of Christendom. Secure in work, contemplation, and dreams of the wider world, a miracle bursts into Aidan's quiet life. He is chosen to accompany a small band of monks on a quest to the fabled city of Byzantium, where they are to present the beautiful and costly hand-illuminated Book of Kells to the emperor of all Christendom.
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Publisher's Summary

Although born to rule, Aidan lives as a scribe in a remote Irish monastery on the far, wild edge of Christendom. Secure in work, contemplation, and dreams of the wider world, a miracle bursts into Aidan's quiet life. He is chosen to accompany a small band of monks on a quest to the fabled city of Byzantium, where they are to present the beautiful and costly hand-illuminated Book of Kells to the emperor of all Christendom.

During this expedition by sea and over land, Aidan becomes, by turns, a warrior and a sailor, a slave and a spy, a Viking and a Saracen, and finally, a man. He sees more of the world than most men of his time, becoming an ambassador to kings and an intimate of Byzantium's fabled Golden Court. And finally, this valiant Irish monk faces the greatest trial confronting any man in any age: the command of his own destiny.

©1996 Stephen R. Lawhead; (P)2001 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Not merely a gripping yarn - and it certainly is that - this is also a novel about faith and the tests life plants in its way. Lawhead, author of the popular Pendragon cycle of fantasies, here makes a sure move into mainstream fiction." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (395 )
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4.2 (199 )
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  •  
    R. Orangeburg, SC, United States 09-29-10
    R. Orangeburg, SC, United States 09-29-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book/Awful Narrator"

    Book was wonderful. I have read it several times. Stuart Langton reads it mechanically. A grave disappointment for a reader of a Lawhead book. Now if it was a book by Stephen Hawking or Asimov I would understand...;)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KPanderson ROBBINSDALE, MN, United States 09-28-10
    KPanderson ROBBINSDALE, MN, United States 09-28-10
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    "Great once you're out of Ireland"

    Starts slow but well worth it once you get out of Ireland! Hang in there!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Galveston, TX, USA 11-17-09
    Melinda Galveston, TX, USA 11-17-09 Member Since 2009
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    "tedious narration"

    Story is not bad but I felt I had to suffer through the narrator's very slow and deliberate telling of the story.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kelly Springfield, OR, United States 04-22-11
    kelly Springfield, OR, United States 04-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "BETTER READ THAN LISTENED TOO!!!!!"

    Excellent story ruined by gut wrenching, monotone narration. I got used to it about 2/3 of the way through but could not help but think the book would have been much better had i read it rather than listen to it. Great story. Horrible narration.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-30-14 Member Since 2008

    GloryM

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    "A long, strange journey into the past.."
    What made the experience of listening to Byzantium the most enjoyable?

    Twenty five hours is along time to spend on any book and only worth it if the story is engaging and interesting..this is. But one has to enjoy well realized and carefully thought out and thoroughly researched books. The scene where the men are running to get out of the slave mines before the great door shuts them in forever is one of the most harrowing I have ever read....and I have read a lot. This is a great commuting book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Garland, Texas, United States 04-26-14
    Frances Garland, Texas, United States 04-26-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Better the Second Time"

    I read this in print years ago but hearing it read made it all the more real to me. Following the trials and victories of Aidan with a good narrator made it like reading a new book for me. What most would see a mundane things such as a street thronged with people with unwashed bodies and yet Aidan finds the smells and tastes of a meal of bread, roast chicken, olives and wine a comfort awoke my own senses of how it was to live in thoes time. I completely enjoyed this book for a second time. I was not familiar with the narrator but I thought he did a fine job of bring this book to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph E. Mercier Trinity National Forest 09-06-13
    Joseph E. Mercier Trinity National Forest 09-06-13 Member Since 2008

    trinityfly

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    "Ponderous"

    Geez what a disappointment. 2 hours into it I could take no more. The writing is ponderous and the narrator just drones on and on. Love audio books and have years of listening experience. Seldom have I encountered such a dreary production.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Burlington, ONTARIO, Canada 07-04-13
    Tony Burlington, ONTARIO, Canada 07-04-13 Member Since 2010
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    "PLEASE DON'T END"

    I read this novel quite some time ago. After a challenging first 45 minutes, the story goes from one wonderful adventure after another. From Britain to Europe to Turkey and Asia and on and on. Fabulous characters, battles, love... one challenge after another in the main characters life experience and all this based on a true story. I just did not want this book to end. My wife, sister and members of her family all agreed ... brilliant !!! Stuart Langton is also awesome. O. K. I have just convinced myself to read it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    barefoot rabbit United States 04-20-13
    barefoot rabbit United States 04-20-13 Member Since 2011
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    "An adventure in medieval philisophy"

    This is a long book--and not easy to narrate, so kudos to Stuart Langton. It's in first-person, so it's commendable that he came up with a believable Irish voice for the main character--although Aidan's bitterness throughout much of the story is hard to swallow, you understand more of what he feels because of the narration. It starts out very slow--but you soon grow used to the pace as it's not a typical adventure tale.

    Ultimately, this story, while a dramatic adventure saga in which the protagonist is a monk, a slave, a spy, a prince and emissary, is really more of an exploration of the age-old question of this world's suffering. "How could a supposedly loving, omnipotent God allow the suffering of the innocent?" Aidan, who starts out as a monk, decides that God is neither loving nor omnipotent and his bitterness drives much of his experience throughout the book. Really interesting, no matter what your personal beliefs are, since everyone has had to grapple with such questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rubin Everett, WA, United States 02-22-13
    Rubin Everett, WA, United States 02-22-13 Member Since 2001
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    "A worthy tale"

    It's been a while since I have listened to this story but, what I recall I liked. Nothing stands out to me as amazing but I do like the Author so I probably overlook the things that I don't like. Mr Lawhead makes a good story that usally has lots of historical and or imaginative detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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