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Publisher's Summary

Ghost Empire is a rare treasure - an utterly captivating blend of the historical and the contemporary, realised by a master storyteller.

In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard's passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire - centred around the legendary Constantinople - we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilisations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder.

Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son. Ghost Empire is a revelation: a beautifully told ode to a lost civilisation, and a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home.

©2016 Richard Fidler (P)2016 Bolinda

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Unraveled byzantine history

Very much enjoyed the exploration of an old city. The movement between the contemporary and the past was presented in a way that pulls you in. I have wanted to do something similar but Erdogan and the occasional crack downs give me pause. As does all the rest of the regional chaos. The trip to Roman ruins is on the list and this book upped the desire factor.

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Interesting story by a great storyteller

Interesting history of Byzantium combined with a travelogue of Istanbul and Rome. The author is an excellent and captivating storyteller with a great ability to weave a complicated yet easy to follow story. His depiction of the Fourth Crusade is probably the best I've heard and truly captures pointless tragedy of the affair. He doesn't dive into as great of detail on some issues that other histories cover, namely the theological disputes, but that is probably for the better in keeping the story moving. Definitely recommend.

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Great presentation

The journalist Fidler does a really wonderful and entertaining presentation both in content and narration. Like an excellent song sung by the songwriter, Fidler imparts emotion at the level the text demands. There may be new things for Byzantine history buffs but mostly is is enjoyable the way he put it together. Everyone who loves history whether you care for Byzantine history or not should listen. It will grab you from the start.

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loved it

Richard Fidler is such a compelling narrator. his enthusiasm for the story behind this fascinating place is infectious.

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  • David H.
  • 09-06-16

Fabulous Book

A well written and well narrated book which brought history to life with a breath of fresh air and a father and son rite of passage. Absolutely loved it and highly recommend.

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  • Fjp
  • 04-23-17

Loved it.

We travelled through Turkey for 6 weeks in May/June 2013 with our 2 boys aged 15 & 13, it is a magical place with so much history and beauty.I wish I had of had this book before we went to Turkey , to understand a more in depth history of the place.The only thing I really knew about Turkey was about Gallipoli and our Anzacs.It blew me away how rich and interesting the history of Turkey is (I did modern history in high school which I loved, but now wish I had done ancient as well) , Richard and Joe's visit had many similarities to ours and I thoroughly enjoyed the interwoven history.Richards calm tone makes it a very easy to listen to audiobook.I am going to buy the hardback copy as well just to have it in my library. This book took me back to Beautiful Turkey and back to Byzantium.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rodney Fielding
  • 09-05-16

Great story of long decline

Once into this reading, I could barely stop listening. Richard Fidler has written and read superbly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristy
  • 08-01-17

Engrossing

A brilliantly written title and performed so perfectly by the author. There is nothing better than hearing stories the way in which they were intended to be heard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan T
  • 08-29-16

Well put together

Places the listener into the perspective of the times. I found myself willing this ongoing line of Emperors to "get a clue", but the history is fixed with all the human flaws.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-17

A compelling and rivetting 'listen'

If you are a current or past student of history, you will love this audio/book. If you are a student of life and the world, you will love this. If you have a passion for travel, you will love this. If you've listened to/or are a fan of Richard's show, the Conversation Hour, and love his dulcet tones, you'll love this.
As an avid traveller to Turkey, Italy and Greece, I really enjoyed this book - not only for the fascinating detail of the Roman/Byzantine/Ottoman empire amd its citizens and rulers with Constantine/Istanbul at its centre, but for the fact that Richard took the journey of discovery with his teenage son Joe, so the story of the Ghost Empire is sprinkled with snippets of their antics and experiences in Istanbul and Rome.
Thoroughly recommended!!

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  • Mr Robert J MacLennan
  • 11-01-17

Outstanding

Excellent narration and significant part of western history I knew nothing about. Very well written, warm and engaging, and makes recent Middle East history seem part of the course for the region. Richard Fidler also has an outstanding podcast called the conversation hour where he interview extra ordinary people from all walks of life, he is hands down one of the best radio interviewers on the planet.

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  • HoneyBunny
  • 09-25-17

Amazing story.

Absolutely loved this story which was read beautifully by the Author. A must to read.

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  • Brian Murphy
  • 06-19-17

Briiliant

An amazing story beautifully read by the author opens up a whole new view of the Byzantine empire.

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  • Kyle Linley
  • 06-05-17

must read for history buffs

wonderfuly written and read. kept me interested the whole time. makes me wish I had known more about the city before I visited a few years ago but at least now I have a better appreciation for what I saw when I did go. will be reccomending!

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  • Knitchic54
  • 05-15-17

Great potted history of Bizantyne history

Recommend this book highly. Richard Fidler does not disappoint with his research and passion for his subjects.