BYZANTIUM: THE DECLINE AND FALL
By John Julius Norwich
From the accession of Alexis in 1081, through the disastrous Fourth Crusade - when an army destined for the Holy Land was diverted to Constantinople by the blind, octogenarian but infinitely crafty Doge of Venice - to the painfully protracted struggle against the Ottomans, the closing centuries of the Byzantine era are rich in pathos, color and startling reversals of fortune. The terrible siege of 1453 ended the empire, founded in the year 330, which Lord Norwich has devoted many years to recreating; this volume forms the climax to an epic sequence of books. He tells this dark, intricate and tragic story in a fluent and accessible way. His Byzantine trilogy is a superb achievement, rescuing the Eastern Empire from the contempt of Edward Gibbon and other historians.
Alfred A. Knopf (1995)