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Byzantium (original 1996; edition 1996)
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061057541, Mass Market Paperback)
Born to rule
Although born to rule, Aidan lives as a scribe in a remote Irish monastery on the far, wild edge of Christendom. Secure in work, contemplation, and dreams of the wider world, a miracle bursts into Aidan's quiet life. He is chosen to accompany a small band of monks on a quest to the farthest eastern reaches of the known world, to the fabled city of Byzantium, where they are to present a beautiful and costly hand-illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells, to the Emperor of all Christendom.
Thus begins an expedition by sea and over land, as Aidan becomes, by turns, a warrior and a sailor, a slave and a spy, a Viking and a Saracen, and finally, a man. He sees more of the world than most men of his time, becoming an ambassador to kings and an intimate of Byzantium's fabled Golden Court. And finally this valiant Irish monk faces the greatest trial that can confront any man in any age: commanding his own Destiny.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:41:22 -0500)
Irish monk Aidan mac Cainnech is hired by the Holy Roman Emperor to spy for Byzantium on the Arabs. The mission turns badly, Aidan is enslaved and more importantly loses his faith, but he will regain it. A look at the Moslem and Christian worlds of the day.
(summary from another edition)
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