Fidler's story leaves its readers with a sense of faith in the renewing, illuminating, social powers of historical narrative. The tale of the Ghost Empire has bridged the gap between a father and son, enriching the contemporary world with the echoes of the past. Byzantium never really died. Its labyrinthine--its byzantine--intrigues cast their shadows over the city still.
The author navigates fluidly from the city's founding by Constantine, the first Christian ruler, moving on to the significant rule of Justinian and his strong-willed wife, Theodora, construction of the Hagia Sophia, schisms, plagues, Crusades, sieges, and the creation of the 'deep state' that resonates today under Turkey's current authoritarian prime minister. Fidler provides a palpable sense of this glittering city built as 'a mirror of heaven.'
Fidler's prose is lively and entertaining; he has a great affection for his subject and often describes it in a way that makes it seem magical. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in traveling to Istanbul and in its history
Australian radio personality Fidler recounts a trip to Turkey with his son in this surprisingly diverting tome that elucidates the rise and fall of Nova Roma. Fidler colors the contours of ancient history while sharing personal reminiscences of his travels with his son.
Fidler displays great charm in the telling of his tale, spicing it with delicious gossip.