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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 (440 )
5 star
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4.2 (246 )
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Story
4.2 (239 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    KPanderson ROBBINSDALE, MN, United States 09-28-10
    KPanderson ROBBINSDALE, MN, United States 09-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    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
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    "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.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chirstopher CHATHAM, MA, United States 07-30-15
    Chirstopher CHATHAM, MA, United States 07-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    "INCREDIBLE "

    This was one of the most well-written, well-studied historical fictions I have ever read. Stephen Lawhead was born to write, and as you listen to this audiobook, you will be in the midst of a story where the author does not exist at all, which is the greatest feat a writer can accomplish. Stick with this book, and you will be handsomly rewarded. The narrator is top notch, give him a chapter or two. I can't even describe how impressed I was with this story. Every time I listened to a few chapters I just had to tell someone about it. Do yourself a favor, and listen to this audiobook. It is flawless in my opinion, and outshines many that are out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clifford Hillsboro, OR, United States 10-20-14
    Clifford Hillsboro, OR, United States 10-20-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "excellent story and performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, great reading and excellent story


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kept me interested and did not want to stop listening but alas I always have something to do so cannot listen for more than 3 hours at a time.


    What about Stuart Langton’s performance did you like?

    Will listen to him anytime he is excellent


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no; I look for books that take awhile to listen to usually over 10 hours


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 04-26-14
    NOKWISA Garland, Texas, United States 04-26-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Tony 07-04-13
    Tony 07-04-13
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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 04-20-13
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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 02-22-13
    Rubin 02-22-13 Member Since 2015
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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
  •  
    Annie Schneider TULSA, OK, US 12-11-12
    Annie Schneider TULSA, OK, US 12-11-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Enjoyable all the way through"

    Some have complained about the narration, but I enjoyed it. I think the slow pace at times is reflective of the mood of the somewhat epic story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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