• Strategos

  • Born in the Borderlands, Strategos 1
  • By: Gordon Doherty
  • Narrated by: Nigel Carrington
  • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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Strategos

By: Gordon Doherty
Narrated by: Nigel Carrington
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Publisher's Summary

When the falcon has flown, the mountain lion will charge from the east, and all Byzantium will quake. Only one man can save the empire ... the Haga!

1046 AD. The Byzantine Empire teeters on full-blown war with the Seljuk Sultanate. In the borderlands of Eastern Anatolia, a land riven with bloodshed and doubt, young Apion's life is shattered in one swift and brutal Seljuk night raid. Only the benevolence of Mansur, a Seljuk farmer, offers him a second chance of happiness.

Yet a hunger for revenge burns in Apion's soul, and he is drawn down a dark path that leads him right into the heart of a conflict that will echo through the ages.

©2011 Gordon Doherty (P)2015 Gordon Doherty

What listeners say about Strategos

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Bullseye

“This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review."

I asked for a review copy of this book because I LOVE this era in history. I always loved Roman lore, and now following the era after Rome's rule has me hooked too. The novel really gives a good feel for the environment and, with the help of Nigel Carrington's top-notch narration, the story come alive for me. I was invested in the characters and in the happenings the whole way through. I cheered and grinned, I sagged and sighed, and I fought along with Apion. I was there. I was angry at him for letting his injury define himself. I was so proud when he grew up. I will look forward to the next books!

6 people found this helpful

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Absolute Must Read/listen!

What made the experience of listening to Strategos the most enjoyable?

Amazing blend of history, suspense, intrigue, and story telling

What was one of the most memorable moments of Strategos?

I really didn't have a most memorable part, I loved it from start to finish. If I had to choose, it was when Apion left to join the Timur and overcame the tragic wound he received when his parents were murdered.

What does Nigel Carrington bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Nigel Carrington is a legend in narration matched with a great book! Nigel provided first class entertainment to a very busy book lover.

Who was the most memorable character of Strategos and why?

Without a doubt, Apion. The author was masterful in his articulation of the Apion's tragic life and how he rose above it to meet his destiny. Can't wait for the next in the series.

3 people found this helpful

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The cost of war

This is a multi-layered novel set in the borderlands of the Byzantine Empire (a modern appellation, since the Byzantines, although by this time thoroughly Greek, considered themselves the true Roman Empire …and honored those ancient Western roots, in nostalgia if not practice. Although I know far less about this place and time than I do others, the history seems impeccably accurate, and the depth and specificity of detail lead me to believe that this book was thoroughly and intelligently researched.

I’ll admit to having a bit of a hard time reading it, had to read it in bits …but not because it was boring or uninteresting, or sloppily written. Just the opposite is true, actually. It was almost too detailed, too rich …to absorbing, and I found that I couldn’t just read it …I had to stop, assimilate, consider, and let my mind range through its reactions to each of the multiple layers.

First, there is the setting. It is so vividly portrayed and placed in its time, that I responded to it with all senses. I could *feel* the grit and the heat. I could *hear* the battle horns, the shouts, and the other terrible noises of war. I could *smell* the warm bread and the less pleasant scents of any Medieval city ..and the stench of the battlefields. I could *taste* the drink made from almonds and yogurt and honey, and the wine, and the honey cakes, and I could *touch* everything. In other words, this setting is a sensual feast, and a banquet of rich experiences, indeed.

Then there are the characters. Each of them, on both sides of this terrible centuries long conflict is not just well drawn, but intensely human, even the villains and the bit players. I found myself identifying with some, aching for them and caring about them, and absolutely hating others, wanting to see them be served a very large helping of very hot vengeance. Even the minor characters, many of who one sees in books about armies, are unique enough not to be one dimensional stock characters. There is the grouch, who has served so long he is cynical, impatient with new recruits and churlish …until is fighting back to back with one of them. There is the drunkard, whose main source of enjoyment involves strong drink and compliant ladies …until the enemy stands in his way, for example.

Then, there is something else. This is a brutal tale about a truly brutal time, and it impacted me on all levels, because the brutality wasn’t just physical, but emotional an spiritual as well. This land …this cradle of civilization has been a war zone for thousands of years …and the issues fought over are little different today than they were at the time of Christ, or even long before. Such constant upheaval, especially where diametrically opposed peoples, such as Byzantine Christians and passionate Islamic adherents met, created (and still create) upheavals of every sort, from clashing armies to devastated families and destroyed psyches and beleaguered souls. All of that is in this book, too …and I found myself considering how complex we are, how our beliefs affect us, and how, sometimes, we have to make choices that wrench us to the very essence of our being. Almost every major character in this book made such choices, and those choices had severe repercussions on every character.

No, this isn’t an easy book to read. It confronts the brutality of war and the brutality of man directly, and without flinching ..but it does so so very skillfully that, like a cobra readying for a strike, the reader is fascinated, and cannot step away …and in my opinion, should not, because these things are also a part of what we are.

The narrator was absolutely perfect for this book. He read with expression an skill, and had absolutely NO problem with the many specialized words and names to be found here. In addition, he just has the “right” voice for this book, and helps bring it into even more vibrant life, at least for me.

I’m not fond of rating books, but I will be giving this book and this narrator 5, and would give more, if I could. Did I “like” it? No …but I found it one of those book experiences that will stay with me for a *very* long time, and it has, via its excellence, had a profound effect on me, so I value it, highly.


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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Doherty is a damn fine storyteller

I enjoyed the book immensely and am excited to move on to the second installment in the series. I have read a lot of Roman historical history novels, but mostly from the perspective of the Western Empire and Republic. This afforded me a nice glimpse into the Eastern Empire days as the Empire begins it's descent. I grade this wonderful work as follows:

Character development - A+
Plot lines - A
Pacing - A
Character interaction and dialogue - A
Battle scenes- A
Geographical description and imagery - A-
Readability - A
Narration - A+
Overall - Solid A

If you are a fan of historical fiction that makes you feel as though you are in the story, you will want to immerse yourself in this novel.
Grab your fictional scimitar or spathea and get to it!

1 person found this helpful

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Great read

Cornwellesque. A thorough look at a forgotten empire. Loved the character development of Appian and Nazir.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story

This was my first read of Gordon doherty and I'm hooked. Only wish the rest of the trilogy was on audio.

1 person found this helpful

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I enjoyed this book

The story kept me coming back for more with this book. As always I want there to be more, but i get that all books have to end. I will definitely look for more by this author!

1 person found this helpful

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Can't wait for book 2

What made the experience of listening to Strategos the most enjoyable?

Great story and narration. I'm excited for for the next book

Any additional comments?

I was provided a free copy in return for an honest review

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Rise of a Byzantine General

What made the experience of listening to Strategos the most enjoyable?

The historical content. I like history.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Strategos?

When the two neighboring families had a dinner and get together before the family's sons each went off to become soldiers in opposing armies.

Have you listened to any of Nigel Carrington’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first book narrated by Carrington.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Seljuk Invasion.

Any additional comments?

The story takes place in the mid 1000's in what is now the modern day part of Asia minor Turkey. The Selijuk Turks are rising in power and creating their own Empire. The Byzantine Empire is corrupt and broke with a poorly funded and supplied army.

A young Byzantine boy, Apion, witnesses his parent's deaths by what appears to be a Selijuk raiding party. Apion is severely wounded, left for dead and then enslaved until Mansur a kindly Selijuk farmer rescues and adopts him. Apion vows vengeance on those who killed his parents. Apion has a destiny to fulfill that is far greater than vengeance on his parent's killers

There are some surprises such as Mansur's motivation in adopting and raising Apion and Mansur's background. One of the villains met his fate. Will the boyhood friends who are now in two opposing armies meet in Battle? Will the Byzantine Empire be able to hold back the Selikuk Turks?

I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.


“I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot come”

1 person found this helpful

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great book

"I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com".

loved the book. its a great read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Storm
  • 10-10-15

Exciting stuff!

Much like the author's Roman series in structure but possibly more interesting in terms of time period and setting. I really enjoyed the main character's growth and thought it was an entertaining v listen thanks to the narrator.
Great stuff!

2 people found this helpful

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  • lee
  • 10-03-15

twistingly gripping

Would you consider the audio edition of Strategos to be better than the print version?

most certainly

Who was your favorite character and why?

each character realism was prevalent

Which scene did you most enjoy?

yet another and most final loss of his second family.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

the crescent and cross

Any additional comments?

yet another success of author and narrator pahe most powerful and immotive story will not meet its full potential in audio format without an a class reader and this book for me has it all. ckage. t

2 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Spencer
  • 09-28-15

A Byzantine plot of epic proportions

By far my most enjoyable audio book in the last few months, I look forward to book 2 with anticipation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Adam Turner
  • 08-28-19

what a great story, cant wait to read on

really really great story. actually really emotional. I know its cliche to say couldn't put it down but was that good that I littraly couldn't stop listening. great book 10/10

1 person found this helpful

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  • Darran Tank
  • 12-29-17

Strategos

Loved the book from the start to the finish made my drives back and forth from Cornwall a lot easier. Appion was a great character.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Toby
  • 09-26-17

A Gripping Historical Epic

Wonderfully written story of a Byzantium hero in the making with epic battles, a great storyline and meaningful characters. Really folds into the historical feeling of the age including a very Roman mythical element which is down to earth and real. The only criticism is that it is not as funny as eg a Scarrow, with the sassy banter between soldiers lacking the same colour. Perfoance of the narrator was strong and accomplished.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt Waker
  • 06-08-16

great

loved it! really good story. captured the time period well. will read the sequels. impressed

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue Pierson
  • 10-31-20

Excellent byzantine fiction

Byzantium is not an easy place to write about. This book does a fine job in weaving an adventure story into byzantine history.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-22

brilliantly performed and written

Fantastic story and brilliantly told. Now looking forward to the next book in the series.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sweetheart1
  • 08-10-20

wrong choice of narrator

this story has the bones to be epic...but is let doen by the wrong narrator...for a book so full of roaring it needs a stronger narrator who can carry the characters better. Nigel is a good narrator just not for this book. i can't finish it...:(

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  • Stanley
  • 10-18-16

Excellent Great book if you are interested in the period and thrilling for every minute

Great book if you are interested in the period and thrilling for every minute can't wait to hear the next one