Rome never fell. The empire continued as Byzantium. This epic historical novel concerns one man's role in saving the empire. The Ottoman Turks are at the gates of Constantinople and Luke Magoris, descended from princes of England, has to find a fortune to build defences for his beloved Mistra, the last glorious outpost of Imperial Rome, as well as saving the Emperor. He turns to China, to the Ming Empire, for trade and to Renaissance Italy for its rapidly developing banks. Both are entirely new roles for Luke and his Varangian brotherhood and many pitfalls befall him. And yet the Varangian treasure - which only he can uncover - may hold the key to all.
This is a rich tale of clashing empires, trade wars and tempestuous love. It was the age, the early fifteenth century, when the fate of the world hung on the survival of Byzantium; an age that made the modern world.
James Heneage created the successful bookshop chain Ottakars and co-founded the Chalke Valley History Festival. He lives near Salisbury.