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Byzantium Audiobook

Byzantium

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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

4.1 (536 )
5 star
 (251)
4 star
 (171)
3 star
 (72)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (21)
Overall
4.3 (331 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (11)
1 star
 (6)
Story
4.3 (324 )
5 star
 (166)
4 star
 (102)
3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (10)
Performance
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  •  
    Tina 12-03-11
    Tina 12-03-11 Member Since 2014

    Im a busy Mama, always on the go! Lover of historical fiction and Sci fi horror.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
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    Story
    "Good potential, but very dry!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Narration, narration, narration


    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The story could have been great, the dry tone made it so boring I couldn't finish it.. I would have chose to read this book rather then listen.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gwendolyn 09-02-11
    Gwendolyn 09-02-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
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    22
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    "Fascinating concept; mediocre development"

    This is one of those kind of historical novels that gives you just enough background and tidbits of historical interest to make you want to know more than you will ever get out of the book. I spent more time researching these tangents than I did listening to the story! The story's plot really developed more along the protagonist's perspective than it did the time period of the setting. Because of this, I really expected to see much more character development than I did. The character did not display the gradual, reasonable shift in credo. It was sudden and dramatic and based on self-contradicting, narrow-minded trifles. That is, the exact same beliefs that gave him hope and direction at one point suddenly is the reason to abandon all hope and direction. And the rationale for that switch seems shallow and inconsistent. The story ends with an epilogue that occurs many years later. The characters show no indication having lived or grown or changed during the interim--they change so diametrically during a relatively short span of their lives, then nothing for the rest. This was somewhat disappointing as I'd hoped for some evidence of the protagonist's credo change being worth all that angst. The plot and characterization may have disappointed, but the historical leads made up for it--for I enjoyed learning more about The Great Schism (when Christianity split into the Western structure and the Eastern Orthodox structure) and The Byzantine. Not to mention all the minor tidbits: sultanates, Turkey, Vikings, monastery life, etc. I did struggle with Langton's narration. He had some voice mannerisms and affects that I had a hard time ignoring. It's worth giving it a listen if you enjoy the historical setting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KPanderson ROBBINSDALE, MN, United States 09-28-10
    KPanderson ROBBINSDALE, MN, United States 09-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 05-09-11
    David Houston, TX, United States 05-09-11 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2382
    ratings
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    576
    169
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    17
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    Performance
    Story
    "Monotonous narrator, repellent central character"

    A narrative written in the first person which lasts for twenty five hours needs two things above all--an excellent reader and an engaging and fascinating central character. Unfortunately this book has neither. Stuart Langton's delivery is flat and monotonous and almost completely lacking in differentiated vocal characterizations. And Aidan is a self obsessed fool with whom it is very difficult to identify. The fact that he admits as much on countless occasions and maunders on about his spiritual inadequacies did nothing to diminish my mounting dislike for him. As a result, the last third of the book, which contains most of the interesting action, still dragged on somewhat painfully.

    I have read and enjoyed some of Lawhead's other books. This was a disappointment. Two of the three stars are a response to the interesting glimpse into the historical period and the chance to break out the maps and follow the journey through unfamiliar territory.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe G. 12-02-16
    Joe G. 12-02-16
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "a great story from a great story teller"

    The reading was excellent and the story even better. Highly recommended for those who enjoy the fiction of Lewis or Tolkien.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Fyler 10-29-16
    D. Fyler 10-29-16 Member Since 2014

    chocoholic

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    143
    76
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    Story
    "So much fun!"

    A really enjoyable historical fiction novel. This had all of the elements of great historical fiction; sympathetic and finely drawn characters, wonderfully detailed settings involving place and time, and intricate weaving of fiction based on factual historical information.

    The narration was not bad. It did not detract from the novel, however , the narrators voice is not very flexible so many of the characters sounded the same.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Virginia 02-25-16
    Amazon Customer Virginia 02-25-16 Member Since 2016

    Sydney

    ratings
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    6
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful"

    A rich, complex character caught in a whirlwind of action. This book kept me on the "edge of my seat" and at times made my heart break.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pros and Cons 02-10-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "I love this adventure!"

    finished in 3 days. Story is good. I enjoyed the characters thoroughly.
    Stewart Langton, sucks a fatty, monotone, and boring.

    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 2014

    trinityfly

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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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.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    barefoot rabbit 04-20-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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

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