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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  464 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. The greatest city of the Christian world, Constantinople has stood for a thousand years against invading hordes.
Mehmet II, the youthful and rash Sultan of the Ottoman Turks is bent on taking the city. He is distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizier. Mehmet risks all to prove he deserves the throne and to ac
Paperback, 412 pages
Published July 28th 2013 by Createspace (first published July 27th 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,575)
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Marcela (BookaholicCat)
Since my first visit to Istanbul in 2004 I’ve been fascinated by its history, especially by its fall to Mehmet II in May 29th, 1453. For that reason I have read several books about the fall of Constantinople and about Mehmet II, a character that has always fascinated me.
Even though I know how the siege happened and how it ends I find intriguing the different takes by the different authors. I always find something new and interesting in the different stories. When I saw Constantinopolis by James
Aug 23, 2013 June rated it it was amazing
Written as a novel, this is a very enjoyable and balanced account of a complex historical event. It is historically accurate (I checked!) but, unlike most history text books, the facts are presented in very readable prose. It is interesting from both a historical and a stylistic perspective. I liked the fact that the reader is drawn into events from the viewpoints of both Mehmet and Constantine, this serves to constantly shift the reader's sympathy from one to the other. The love story between C ...more
Aug 24, 2013 Felicia rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what to expect from this book since I did not know the history of Constantinople. But I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It fully engaged me from beginning to end. The character development was absolutely 5 star! I found myself being sympathetic and routing for both Mehmet and Constantine. What makes this book even more profound is that the author wrote a very accurate depiction of history and brought all the characters alive. You felt their emotions and knew their side of the story. I ...more
Angie Lisle
May 15, 2015 Angie Lisle rated it it was ok
I received a free copy of this book from Library Thing in exchange for a review.

Initially, the book sucked me in and I finished the story in two days. Shipman does a great job taking what's often delivered as dry fact and turning it into action. But. I wish more facts made it into the story because this turned out to be more historical-fantasy than historical-fiction.

The story needs more editing to weed out the typos and repetitive passages. The characters need a little work, the historical fi
Charles z
The story begins with the young Sultan Mehmet killing two people on a night walk. He then meets with his closest advisor Zagnos; in which they talk about the death of Mehmet’s father Murad who was a great leader as well as the scheming grand vizer Halil. Meanwhile, in Constantinople Constantine and his lover Zophia (who many advisors disprove of and think he should marry a Georgian princess instead) talk about how the empire is fading and the Turks are probably on their way to attack the city. Z ...more
Robbi Freeman
Sep 01, 2013 Robbi Freeman rated it it was amazing
I truly love learning from historical fiction. James Shipman does an amazing job of telling the historical story of Mehmet II, who at the beginning of the book had just taken over as Sultan of the Ottoman Turks and the Emperor Constantine XI of Constantinople.
Living in America, I may have briefly been over this in a college history class, but had no memory of who had won the battle of Constantinople. Maybe if college teachers or world history teachers would assign books such as these we would r
Waheed Rabbani
May 19, 2015 Waheed Rabbani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1452, in the Ottoman city of Edirne, the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmet confers with his trusted general. Mehmet is yearning to prove himself, for Turks consider him incompetent and too young to rule. Mehmet wishes to capture the jewel metropolis, Constantinople – unconquered for a thousand years. Although most on the Ottoman Council disagree, citing the city’s impregnable defense walls, and Byzantine’s naval superiority – fearing their Greek-fire weaponry – Mehmet devises a plan.

In Constantinople
May 14, 2015 Lynne rated it really liked it
This was the first book I won on Library Thing in exchange for a review.
Having been to this part of the world and actually having spent 15 days in Turkey to include Edirne and Istanbul I was tickled to have won a chance to read this book.

First I must say that Mr. Shipman is a captivating storyteller. I was caught up in the events immediately. Knowing quite a bit about the religious and historical background beforehand, I found having the personal relationships, emotions and motivations of the ke
Tony Parsons
Apr 09, 2014 Tony Parsons rated it it was amazing
Set in the 1453, the greatest city of the Christian western world is Constantinople. It has at least a 1,000 yr. history of nomadic tribe’s invasion & raining down pestilence/war upon the PPL/ city.
After the death of his well-respected father, Murad; Sultan Mehmet II (Emperor), reigns over the Ottoman Turks (Empire) & is hell-bent on capturing Constantinople. 8 centuries earlier, Mohammed had predicted this. Mehmet PPL do not think very highly of him, nor does the Grand Vizier Halil. Gr
Aug 11, 2013 Nicola rated it really liked it
This is a good read, very well written. Funnily enough I didn't really like the title, but that is a small thing. It is the story of the siege of Constantinople and that is something I previously knew nothing about. The story is very much the story of the siege/ battles and for that reason probably wouldn't be my first choice as a subject matter, but the writing is so good that it did keep me gripped. There are some really good characters and some fantastic descriptions. Well worth a read.
Diane Moyle
Sep 17, 2014 Diane Moyle rated it it was amazing
I wasn’t sure I would like to write a blog but quite frankly, I have really started to enjoy it. Because of it, I have been able to meet amazing authors in my quest for books to read. Also, I have been given some books that I would never have picked up on my own because I have no interest in that area of history. Constantinopolis is just one example. I had contacted Mr. Shipman because I was interested in his new book coming out, Going Home. I actually thought it was out already and wanted to kn ...more
W. Derek Atkins
Nov 24, 2014 W. Derek Atkins rated it really liked it
I just finished reading Constantinopolis by James Shipman, and definitely enjoyed this book. I would have given it five stars, except this book is riddled with typographical errors, mainly the lack of commas where they should be. Shipman also misspelled a number of words, including "straight" when talking about the straits that surrounded Constantinople, and "reign" when talking about the reins of a horse.

Apart from these errors, I found this book to be a very good read. Shipman has certainly do
Jim Blessing
Oct 02, 2013 Jim Blessing rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This was a great read about an event that I had only limited knowledge about. The author went back and forth between Constantine, the last emperor and Mehmet, the young Sultan. The book was like the movie Argo, in that you knew how it was going to end, but the story kept you on the seat of your pants. I do not tend to be a high rater, but this was an amazing read!
Mar 31, 2015 A M rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This review can also be read on my blog https://toomanybooksnotenoughtime.wor...

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and this particular book was about a period of history I knew very little about. I was excited to read it and to get my teeth stuck into a ripping good read. Unfortunately that’s not quite what I got.

While the book was certainly well researched I thought it had a lot of padding. It got quite repetitive. I got a bit sick of hearing about how Constantine felt
James Shipman
Feb 10, 2015 James Shipman rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Constantinopolis explores the fall of Constantinople in 1453 from the point of view of Mehmet II, Sultan of the Ottoman Turks and Constantine XI, Emperor of the Greeks.
Vermicious Knids
I recently read an excellent book, Isabella: The Warrior Queen, which often mentions how much the fall of Constantinople impacted the queen. Afterward, my interest was once again ignited to read more about the Ottoman Empire, especially the conquest of Constantinople. I highly anticipated this book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the history portion of this read and I am glad I read it. The clever ideas of Mehmet II were amazing and the political
Paula Schumm
Nov 09, 2014 Paula Schumm rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a free advance download of Constantinopolis by James Shipman.
Constantinopolis is historical fiction based on the conflict in 1453 between Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire and Constantine XI of the Greek Empire. Constantinopolis would be a very readable account if it had a proper edit. (The astonishing lack of appropriate punctuation was distracting.) I loved getting to know the characters on both sides of the war, especially since this is a hi
David Canford
Oct 25, 2015 David Canford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This reminds me of novels I used to love as a child - ones that bring history to life and make you want to know more about an era. It had me gripped almost from the first page. Yes it is occasionally repetitive and maybe some questions are too often repeated but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. I knew next to nothing about the fall of Constantinople and this book filled that gap. It was fascinating to discover that Mehmet was about to give up and had the Greeks held out for just one more d ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Betty rated it really liked it
**** (4 - 4 1/2 stars)
The story is set in and around Constantinople beginning in November, 1452. For almost 1,000 years, the Ottomans have repeatedly tried to conquer Constantinople, as have the Romans, the Crusaders, and the Hungarians, to name a few. Constantinople has been repeatedly saved primarily by its defenses - a series of massive battlements on the city’s 5-mile long west side, the Sea of Marmara to the south, and the Golden Horn and Bosphorous Sea protecting the north and east sides
Richard R., Martin
For me, this was a great piece of historical fiction. The author told the historical story of the last days of Constantinople but made the characters come alive and added some fictional characters to make it more than just flat history. Through the fictional stories, like Mehmet wondering the streets at night and Constantine's love affair, the reader gets insights into the characters that could not be derived just from the history. I am a little disappointed that the author took the liberty of g ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Liviu marked it as tried-but-not-for-me
mediocre writing
Bill Thibadeau
Jan 17, 2014 Bill Thibadeau rated it really liked it
I thought that I knew the history of Constantinople. This book enlightened me of that city. This is a historical fiction that is probably more historical than fiction. I was taken in completely by the story. The characters were so real that it made the plot seem like it was an unfolding history lesson.

The epilogue to the book was a great explanation of the characters. I was surprised to learn that all but one of the characters were actually real people of the time. It was interesting that the au
Sep 17, 2013 Jim rated it liked it
Full disclosure: The author, James D. Shipman, read some of my other reviews in Goodreads and asked me to review "Constantinopolis." He sent a complimentary advanced copy to review. I should also note that this period in history, 1453, isn't a period of history that I know much about.

This historical novel is about the siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. By this point, Constantinople is a city greatly in decline but it's powerful fortifications have withstood several previous a
Nov 26, 2013 Anthony rated it it was amazing
Review by Anthony T. Riggio of “Constantinopolis” by James Shipman, 10-30-13

I purchased this book in its Kindle edition from Amazon.

This is a book of historical fiction that from the very start that captures the reader. It outlines the struggles of Constantine XI in the fifteenth century in holding the city of Constantinople and his protagonist Sultan Mehmet II who believes he is destined by Allah to capture the city as was envisioned by Mohammed eight centuries earlier. The book is a contrast
Diana Shaffner
Dec 14, 2013 Diana Shaffner rated it really liked it
Constantinopolis is a wonderful work of historical fiction. It is 1453. Constantinopolis is the impregnable jewel of the East that tempted many armies to conquer it unsuccessfully. The then Christian city completely surrounded by Ottoman Turk territory and ruled by Greek Emperor Constantine XI is struggling to hold on to its former glory with its dwindling population. Historical power structures of the time showed the Ottoman Turks to be a rising threat to much of Europe. In his book James Shipm ...more
Ralph Wark
A nice easy read

I enjoy historical fiction and enjoyed this book, preceding it wit Uris's Exodus, so it was a good segue. The book, as far as I can tell, is historically accurate, with only one fictional character. Unfortunately that character is Sophia, love of Constantine,emperor of Constantinopolis. I don't mind someone having a love life but a bit too much time is spent perseverating about the consequences of their actions. The characters are lightly drawn but relatable and the detail is fai
Feb 06, 2014 Lawrence rated it really liked it
Good change of pace for me. Got swept up in this historical epic. Knowing it is a factionalized account, I felt it portrayed both sides of the siege of Constantinople fairly, not trying to evoke sympathy for either side, but presenting plausible thoughts about the leaders of each side as they attempt to succeed in the battles of war and politics. Presented Machiavellian intrigue.
Victoria Brinius
Jan 25, 2014 Victoria Brinius rated it really liked it
For me this was a story about how history could have been rewritten. I loved the historical accuracy This is a great book to read, because I learned some history. I also really liked this time era of time and it was so interesting to read about the Ottoman Empire. I loved that this took place at a common time in history as well, it was easier for me to understand. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review from OrangeBerry book Tours, however all opinions are my own.
Jul 26, 2015 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. Historical fiction about the defeat of Emperor Constantine and the fall of Constantinople to Sultan Mehmet of the Ottoman Empire in 1453. The book alternates chapters, one from Constantine’s point-of-view and the next from Mehmet’s. Although the narrative tends to be somewhat repetitive, the book is well-researched, informative and interesting.
Dec 19, 2015 Boyan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Couldn't finish it. Quite correct historically, but in a very shallow literary style. Absolutely no development of the characters, I just got tired of the same internal motives for their actions repeated again and again. And again. So I just gave up and read the Wikipedia article on how the siege ended - there's no other value in the book.
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