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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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Great Listen

What did you love best about Ghost Empire?

Well written and read by Richard Fidler. A fascinating history of a strategic, important city, inhabited and fought for by diverse cultures.

Any additional comments?

It is such a pity that Constantinople and Byzantine are pronounced with incorrect emphasis. As they occur frequently it becomes annoying.

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The writer isn't always the best narrator

I was very much looking forward to this book - very, very much - but the outdated gender philosophies around father/son relationships and the narrator's dull and charmless delivery made it impossible to get through chapter one. I'm going to try again in hard copy. Maybe.

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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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  • JL
  • 06-11-17

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.

4 of 4 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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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-11-17

Richard and Joe

I enjoyed this journey a lot- enlightening historical anecdotes and numerous intimate moments between father and son.

1 of 1 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
  • 04-08-18

engrossing historiical account

I would thoroughly recommend this audio book! A great listening experience ffom start to finish, Excellent narration by Richard Fidler,

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  • Suzana
  • 04-03-18

Fantastic journey into the ancient world!

This is an incredibly well researched and passionately written account of an ancient and fascinating civilisation.

The clever storytelling device of using a current trip with his son to explore the past weaves a narrative that is both relatable and comprehensive.

The Byzantine empire is often overlooked in western historical accounts and this certainly begins to make amends for it.

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  • AM
  • 03-22-18

The gore and the glory - wonderful history.

What did you like most about Ghost Empire?

Being able to gain some historical context to this wonderful part of the world is amazing!.... and being able to listen to it in background while doing other things makes the enjoyment (while lazy) very pleasurable!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-23-18

Interesting and accessible

Fidler makes a complex topic quite accessible, and the interposition of the autobiographical story arc breaks it up well. Well read by Fidler, to be expected.

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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!!