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Agent of Byzantium (Isaac Asimov Presents…
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Agent of Byzantium (Isaac Asimov Presents Series) (edition 1987)

by Harry Turtledove

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
438941,509 (3.52)9
From the New York Times-bestselling "standard-bearer for alternate history": A spy takes on the enemies of the Byzantine Empire (USA Today). In another, very different timeline--one in which Mohammed embraced Christianity and Islam never came to be--the Byzantine Empire still flourishes in the fourteenth century, and wondrous technologies are emerging earlier than they did in our own. Having lost his family to the ravages of smallpox, Basil Argyros has decided to dedicate his life to Byzantium. A stalwart soldier and able secret agent, Basil serves his emperor courageously, going undercover to unearth Persia's dastardly plots and disrupting the dark machinations of his beautiful archenemy, the Persian spy Mirrane, while defusing dire threats emerging from the Western realm of the Franco-Saxons. But the world Basil so staunchly defends is changing rapidly, and he must remain ever vigilant, for in this great game of empires, the player who controls the most advanced tools and weaponry--tools like gunpowder, printing, vaccines, and telescopes--must certainly emerge victorious.   A collection of interlocking stories that showcase the courage, ingenuity, and breathtaking derring-do of superspy Basil Argyros, Agent of Byzantium presents the great Harry Turtledove at his alternate-world-building best. At once intricate, exciting, witty, and wildly inventive, this is a many-faceted gem from a master of the genre.… (more)
Member:dalai-lt
Title:Agent of Byzantium (Isaac Asimov Presents Series)
Authors:Harry Turtledove
Info:Congdon & Weed (1987), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 210 pages
Collections:Your library
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Agent of Byzantium by Harry Turtledove

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Mr. Turtledove, like Isaac Asimov, is an ideas man, not a stylist. The book is an adequate entertainment. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Aug 24, 2013 |
One of my favorite Turtledove novels. It is a little less fantasy and more historical fiction, but he created a very believable Byzantium. The setting and characters are excellent. I put this up there with his early Videssos books for quality. ( )
  Karlstar | May 30, 2013 |
Some things do not age well. I had enjoyed these stories back when originally published and decided to purchase the collection as a classic. On rereading they come off as shallow formula stories with cardboard characters. Pity. It is one of the classics of alternate history. However my taste has moved on. Then again I have soured on Turtledove over time which could be part of the problem. ( )
  agingcow2345 | Jun 11, 2012 |
E se... Maometto si fosse convertito al cristianesimo? Da questo presupposto Harry Turtledove imbastisce un'ucronia che vede un Impero Bizantino del quattordicesimo secolo ancora potenza mondiale, rivale dell'altrettanto potente Persia. In questo mondo i musulmani non esistono e Costantinopoli non ha mai conosciuto il declino che ne decretò la fine nella storia che tutti noi conosciamo.
In questa ambientazione si muove Basil Argyros, una specie di agente speciale al soldo dell'imperatore, inviato a risolvere questioni spinose e potenziali crisi.
Il fascino maggiore del romanzo è l'ambientazione. Harry Turtledove è un'esperto di storia bizantina e in questo libro infonde tutta la sua conoscenza, gioca con la storia e crea il mondo che probabilmente lui amerebbe. Tuttavia se come storico e ucronista Turtledove non ha pari, come narratore purtroppo resta piuttosto verboso. Fatto già dimostrato con la saga della Legione Perduta, ambientata in mondo alternativa che deve molto alle suggestioni della storia bizantina. Non ha sicuramente la verve dell'ammirato Lyon Sprague De Camp, che con il suo stupendo "Abisso del passato", ispirò non solo gli studi accademici di Turtledove, ma evidentemente anche questo romanzo.
Il romanzo è frammentario, episodico, con l'handicap particolare di narrare eventi poco interessanti e di presentare un protagonista a tratti anonimo e a tratti odioso.
L'affresco che ne risulta, però, è affascinante e vale la lettura dell'opera.
Consigliato soprattutto ai fan di Turtledove e ai lettori di ucronie. Agli altri potrebbe risultare superfluo e pedante. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
E se... Maometto si fosse convertito al cristianesimo? Da questo presupposto Harry Turtledove imbastisce un'ucronia che vede un Impero Bizantino del quattordicesimo secolo ancora potenza mondiale, rivale dell'altrettanto potente Persia. In questo mondo i musulmani non esistono e Costantinopoli non ha mai conosciuto il declino che ne decretò la fine nella storia che tutti noi conosciamo.
In questa ambientazione si muove Basil Argyros, una specie di agente speciale al soldo dell'imperatore, inviato a risolvere questioni spinose e potenziali crisi.
Il fascino maggiore del romanzo è l'ambientazione. Harry Turtledove è un'esperto di storia bizantina e in questo libro infonde tutta la sua conoscenza, gioca con la storia e crea il mondo che probabilmente lui amerebbe. Tuttavia se come storico e ucronista Turtledove non ha pari, come narratore purtroppo resta piuttosto verboso. Fatto già dimostrato con la saga della Legione Perduta, ambientata in mondo alternativa che deve molto alle suggestioni della storia bizantina. Non ha sicuramente la verve dell'ammirato Lyon Sprague De Camp, che con il suo stupendo "Abisso del passato", ispirò non solo gli studi accademici di Turtledove, ma evidentemente anche questo romanzo.
Il romanzo è frammentario, episodico, con l'handicap particolare di narrare eventi poco interessanti e di presentare un protagonista a tratti anonimo e a tratti odioso.
L'affresco che ne risulta, però, è affascinante e vale la lettura dell'opera.
Consigliato soprattutto ai fan di Turtledove e ai lettori di ucronie. Agli altri potrebbe risultare superfluo e pedante. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harry Turtledoveprimary authorall editionscalculated
Asimov, IsaacIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawkins, GerryCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, J. K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For John and Steve,
who went through it with me
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The steppe country north of the Danube made Basil Argyros think of the sea.
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published in two distinct editions: The first edition , published in 1987 by Congdon & Weed, includes six stories: Unholy Trinity, Archetypes, The Eyes of Argos, Strange Eruptions, Images, Superwine. The second edition, published in 1994 by Baen Books, adds the story Pillar of Cloud, Pillar of Fire.
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From the New York Times-bestselling "standard-bearer for alternate history": A spy takes on the enemies of the Byzantine Empire (USA Today). In another, very different timeline--one in which Mohammed embraced Christianity and Islam never came to be--the Byzantine Empire still flourishes in the fourteenth century, and wondrous technologies are emerging earlier than they did in our own. Having lost his family to the ravages of smallpox, Basil Argyros has decided to dedicate his life to Byzantium. A stalwart soldier and able secret agent, Basil serves his emperor courageously, going undercover to unearth Persia's dastardly plots and disrupting the dark machinations of his beautiful archenemy, the Persian spy Mirrane, while defusing dire threats emerging from the Western realm of the Franco-Saxons. But the world Basil so staunchly defends is changing rapidly, and he must remain ever vigilant, for in this great game of empires, the player who controls the most advanced tools and weaponry--tools like gunpowder, printing, vaccines, and telescopes--must certainly emerge victorious.   A collection of interlocking stories that showcase the courage, ingenuity, and breathtaking derring-do of superspy Basil Argyros, Agent of Byzantium presents the great Harry Turtledove at his alternate-world-building best. At once intricate, exciting, witty, and wildly inventive, this is a many-faceted gem from a master of the genre.

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