Byzantium Audiobook | Stephen R. Lawhead | Audible.com
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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 (374 )
5 star
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Overall
4.2 (187 )
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Story
4.2 (182 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Christine Sharon, Ontario, Canada 12-04-10
    Christine Sharon, Ontario, Canada 12-04-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unforgettable!"

    Years after listening to Stuart Langton perform this story my husband and I are still able conjur up images with just a word - 'aya' - and that one word brings back all the warmth and integrity of Lawhead's wonderfull characters. I miss them so! Get past the monotone of the first few chapters - trust the writer/reader that it has it's purpose.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    neil FORT PIERCE, FL, United States 07-30-09
    neil FORT PIERCE, FL, United States 07-30-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    212
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    37
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    Overall
    "Innovative Writing"

    I love long, well written, action packed historical
    novels. There are a lot of historical novels,
    and quite a few of them that have a lot of action.
    But there aren't many that have been written well.
    By that, most lover's of good literature probably share most of my beliefs as to what "well written"
    means.
    On the other hand, too many are prosaic in key areas like characterization, plot, and description
    to merit "well written". "Byzantium" is well
    written. It is innovative, it flows well, and
    tells a great story. For one who has read a lot
    of this genre, surprise at where the story goes
    is a refreshingly pleasant experience. Good
    narration, which becomes increasingly apparent,
    the deeper one goes in the story. It is a long
    story which kept my interest the entire time...the
    way I like it.

    28 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 03-28-11
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 03-28-11 Member Since 2009

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Well worth the credit"

    Great narrations have the potential to make a mediocre book great. Less than stellar performances can detract from a book's greatness to the point that an audiobook becomes a totally ruined experience. Some stories are so great, however, that a less than comparable narration cannot detract so much as to make the listening a totally rewarding experience. This, I believe, is the case with Byzantium.

    As others have commented, the book does start off a bit slow but that is perhaps to better portray and contrast the life of Aidan the monk with that of Aidan the adventuresome hero . And what an adventure there is to come. The time is the 10th century. The story begins and ends in an abbey in Ireland but takes the reader to such far away places as Constantinople, Scandinavia and Persia. Throughout these disparate lands, languages and cultures moves a protagonist who is incredibly skilled in diplomacy and who's polyglot virtuosity moves him in circles he might not normally find himself traversing so readily and so gracefully. Aidan is comfortable in the company of humble monks, marauding, barbarian Vikings, exalted emperors and sultans. Our hero is a lowly priest of noble heritage; he's a devout believer who becomes an atheist. and well, as is so brilliantly portrayed to us in the book, "it's complicated." Actually, the book is not so complicated; on the contrary, it is a simple story that is profound and touching on many levels and in many regards. The book will not disappoint.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mathew Saint Cloud, MN, United States 04-26-09
    Mathew Saint Cloud, MN, United States 04-26-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Byzantium"

    After reading/listening through Byzantium I am left with a sense of wonder at the adventures told. Only one warning though; it starts out very slowly. But the excitement does pick up once the monk Aidan is out of his Abbey home. This tale is told with a great sense of detail and makes you feel as if you are with Aidan walking the magnificent streets of ancient Byzantium, in a Viking drinking hall, at a Saracen court, or sailing for your life aboard a mighty longship.

    The triumphs and despair of the long journey are vivid and the characters are well fleshed out. The narrator does a good job with the changing his inflection and accent to give you the feel that you are listening to the roar of a Viking Jarl, or the clever intelligence of a noble Saracen Emir. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DesignerBee California 10-01-10
    DesignerBee California 10-01-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "great story, blah reader"

    I was sorely disappointed in the reading of this saga. All the characters were delivered in angry or gruff voices, and there was very little vocal difference between the many characters with little or no inflection. When the characters were in Constantinople and Arabia they sounded strangely East Indian, not Turkish, Persian, or Arabian.

    I had "wish listed" all the volumes in this series, but as they are all narrated by Mr. Langdon I don't think I'll download them. It's too bad because I loved the story and characters, and I assume the following volumes are just as interesting, but it was so terribly difficult to stay focused while listening to the monotone narrator that I just can't imagine listening to him again.

    3 of 3 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 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kelly Springfield, OR, United States 04-22-11
    kelly Springfield, OR, United States 04-22-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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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 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Collierville, TN, United States 09-26-09
    James Collierville, TN, United States 09-26-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A truly great story!"

    This was my first by Lawhead. It will not be my last. He is wonderful. His character development is among the best. His plots and story line hold your interest and suspense throughout the book. Above all it is a story of faith that anyone (believers and nonbelievers) will appreciate.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Seaside, CA, United States 04-29-09
    Craig Seaside, CA, United States 04-29-09 Member Since 2002
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    "Thoughtful Adventure"

    This absorbing and sometimes thought provoking tale is only mildly flawed by predictability. Willingly suspending my judgment and simply enjoying the yarn proved worth every compelling minute. In the ethical struggle of the protagonist, I realized I was rooting for the traditional G*d, a posture in which I rarely find myself.

    7 of 9 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 1 people found this review helpful
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