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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  90 ratings  ·  29 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...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published July 28th 2013 by Createspace (first published July 27th 2013)
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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
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
Robbi Podgaysky- freeman
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...more
Dan Wasserman
If you like historical fiction, "Constantinoplis" is well worth reading! James Shipman has captured all the intrigue surrounding the fall of the fourth of the five Cities of Christianity in the Middle Ages...Constantinople. Mehmet II was an inexperienced and troubled leader entirely focused on the only prize he felt would cement his position as Sultan. Pitted against him was Emperor Constantine XI, who ruled a hollow empire. His sole ambition was to preserve Constantinople at all costs, but fate...more
Tony Parsons
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...more
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.
Jim Blessing
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!
James Shipman
Aug 07, 2013 James Shipman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (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.
Charles Franklin
Pros: Interesting characters, thrilling story, More than a war story-romance, religion, etc.

Cons: None, unless you don't like books about war and battles of strategy.

"Constantinopolis" is a great piece of historical fiction that comes along every few books every few years. It was a special treat because it covered the Byzantine empire. I NEVER came across any book (fiction or non-fiction) that really displayed people as Byzantine people as real. This was the first book that was able to do that....more
**** (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...more
Bill Thibadeau
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...more
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...more
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...more
Diana Shaffner
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...more
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
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.
Oct 05, 2013 K.S. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.S. by: James Shipman
James Shipman gave me a free advance copy of Constantinopolis for Kindle/e-reader. I was impressed with his very factual account of the history of Constantinople and his depth of knowledge as well as his ability to combine that into a novel format. I knew very little about Constantinople, Mehmet II or Constantine so this was a great little history lesson for me. Some parts were a little too gruesome for my taste, but I suppose some of that stuff really happened, or close to it, and for that reas...more
Chris Yorgason
I really enjoyed this book, even though there were some particularly graphic descriptions in chapter 21 that I could do withou. The historical notes at the back of the book were great too. I feel like I learned a lot about Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire by reading this book.
1453 was a pivotal year in western civilization. I have a degree in history and so I knew how the story would end. Nevertheless, I was rooting for Constantine because of his love and loyalty to his people and his city. It wasn't a religious issue (Christians vs Islam) but rather Constantine puts the need for survival first while Mehmet is driven by his personal self interests. The fictional character Zophia is an interesting addition to the story.

The author's notes at the end of the book were he...more
Vikas Datta
A captivating account of a seminal point in history, well presented from the perspective of both sides through some well crafted characters. Scores high in giving a readable account of the power politics in the western world that doomed the New Rome. Would have ranked it higher except for some small issues - the repeated reference to Baltics when I think the Balkans was meant, going on much through the beginning and then recurring later; some infrequent but mildly annoying editorial slip-ups, an...more
Stanley Townsend
While I give kudos for the extensive historical research that went into this work, I found the prose a bit painful and repetitive.
A great "historical fiction" account of the siege of Constantinople in 1453.
Even though I knew the ending, it was a riveting read :)
Just a pity that it was badly edited and proofread - lines duplicated, and the same wording used repeatedly throughout the book. Perhaps this just applies to the Kindle edition?
Either way, it was well constructed. One sides alternately with Constantine and Mehmet, as their view of the siege is explored, and the final outcome seems both disappointing and victorious.
Interesting story, needs some editing.
Jay Simser
I was interested in this book because I did not know much about the fall of Constantinopolis and was fairly satisfied with the knowledge I gained. I checked it out on Wikipedia and it was fairly true to the facts. It was confusing at times because of the back and forth nature of the narrative and the use of dates as chapter titles but over all I enjoyed the book.
Tim Schiraldi
Historically accurate. I had previously read another book about the fall of Constantinople that was much more interesting. This book just didn't have the character development of the other book. If I hadn't read the other I might have enjoyed this more.
Good historical fiction of events in Constantinople with great insights into two opposing Christian and Muslim leaders. A little too much emphasis on battle strategies for my taste but otherwise an interesting read.
Towards the beginning of this book, I was considering giving up on it because I wasn't really intrigued by either Mehmet or Constantine, but I stuck with it and once I got to the siege, I ended up enjoying it.
Florence Primrose
Interesting novel of the glory days of Constantinople.
Enjoyed this book much more than I expected I would. Interesting story of Constantinople and the opposing forces of Christianity and Islam and the battle for the city.
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