Master of Shadows

Master of Shadows In fifteenth century Constantinople Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken hearted girl But the price of his valour is high John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world His unique abilit

  • Title: Master of Shadows
  • Author: Neil Oliver
  • ISBN: 9781409158110
  • Page: 441
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In fifteenth century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken hearted girl But the price of his valour is high.John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in search of a girl and the chance to fulfil a death bed promise.Lena has remained hidden from tIn fifteenth century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken hearted girl But the price of his valour is high.John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in search of a girl and the chance to fulfil a death bed promise.Lena has remained hidden from the men who have been searching for her for many years When she s hunted down, at last she knows what she must do.With an army amassing beyond the city s ancient walls, the fates of these three will intertwine As the Siege of Constantinople reaches its climax, each must make a choice between head and heart, duty and destiny.

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      Published :2018-04-24T13:42:40+00:00

    One thought on “Master of Shadows”

    1. Master of Shadows is an enthralling historical novel which brings to life a fascinating period of great violence in our world history. A fictional account of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman empire.It is also the engaging story of soul twins John Grant and Constantine.In 15th century Constantinople a grief stricken girl Yaminah jumps to certain death. However her fall is broken and life saved by Prince Constantine, heir to the Byzantium throne. In this act of selflessness Prince Constan [...]

    2. The story starts with a historical note about 1453 and the advance of the Ottomans on the eastern Christian empire of Constantinople. Rumoured to be among the city’s defenders was a Scot called John Grant. Neil Oliver, historian and TV presenter, takes the real life Grant and fictionalizes him in this, his debut novel; a novel rich in detail, historical context, colours and smells.It starts with disparate snapshots: a boy lies in a meadow and feels invisible; a stranger arrives at a Scottish v [...]

    3. Won in a ' giveawayWhenever I review a work of modern, historical fiction, I'm always reminded of the wonderful spirit of adventure in The Three Musketeers, or Conan Doyle's eccentric, but swashbuckling saga, The White Company. When monks are too the fore, the natural comparison is The Name of The Rose, and when reviewing any work of historical fiction based in Scotland, then Sir Walter Scott is a useful reference point. It may strike people as grossly unfair that I should compare The Master of [...]

    4. What in the name of the Creator was this nonsense?! It started off well, but then seemed to divert between present sequences and past- at one point I was concerned the protagonist's father was hanging around as a ghost, and quite franklyI couldn't finish this. I got up to the scene with the excrement, and then quit. I can't take any more of this weirdness. Master of Shadows appears to be a book in shambles, rapidly flicking from one timeline to another, and it's very difficult to keep up- it's e [...]

    5. From the lawless borderlands of Scotland to the crumbling majesty of Constantinople, the first novel from TV historian Neil Oliver is a sweeping, epic adventure and the story of a man all but forgotten by history.In fifteenth-century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken-hearted girl. But the price of his valour is high.John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world. His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in searc [...]

    6. ‘Among [Constantinople]’s defenders was a man cloaked in shadow. He is mentioned in accounts of the siege, but only in a few lines here and there. Some writers described him as German, but in fact he was a Scot, and his name was John Grant.’I picked this novel up for two reasons. First, it featured John Grant, an engineer who played a key role in the fall of Constantinople in 1453 but about whom little is known. Secondly, I’m a huge fan of Neil Oliver and wanted to see whether his fictio [...]

    7. I've been looking forward to Scottish historian Neil Oliver's debut novel for quite some time and was not at all disappointed or perhaps I was. The plot, the research, the storytelling style - all were perfect (of course, the dialogue must be imagined in Oliver's charming Scottish accent), and the characters themselves were brilliant and engaging. The storyline did jump around in time a little, but was simple enough to follow. Oliver took a period of history that I have not spent much time on a [...]

    8. I read this book as a historian who is familiar with the other end of the history of Christian Constantinople/Byzantium, and of course with Neil's work as a history presenter. I was interested in learning more about the transfer of power from Christian to Muslim rule, but too busy/lazy to do the research!I found it interesting, but not as rich a story as I had hoped. Part of the problem in reviewing this book is not knowing enough to tell what resources Neil had available to him, and which of th [...]

    9. Wow, fantastic book and I was sad to get to the end. I wanted more. Perhaps there might be a volume 2 in the future? For those of us who are visual thinkers, I found myself in the thick of it throughout the book. While reading it is easy to imagine so many possibilities in history. I just wish I had read this book before visiting Turkey. Looking forward to more from this author.

    10. Rounded up - slightly generously - from 3.5.Constantinople, the Great City, is under siege once more. That is will fall is inevitable - however it may not fall quite as soon as the Sultan would like. For behind its walls is a man named John Grant, and with a trick as simple as bowls of water, time and time again he will foil them, until finally they come.Honestly, this book is a bit of a mixed bag. It is obvious that Oliver is largely a writer of non-fiction, for the battle scenes would not be o [...]

    11. Obviously Neil Oliver's first novel was always going to be a bit of a historical epic - and this doesn't disappoint. The story sweeps from 15th century Constantinople to Scotland and back again. But don't expect a dry, factually accurate tome - Mr Oliver has definitely got his storytelling head on. History purists beware though as the identity of one key character may make you squirm. But remind yourself that this is a novel based in history with a gilding of romance and fantasy and you will hav [...]

    12. I struggled with this although partly that was because the different strands of the story were tricky to follow on audio. I got half way through before giving up. It starts with a prologue - a woman jumps from a tower. Then the story follows two main strands - the boy John and the warrior Badr. These two come together in Scotland and I found the writing very emotional at times. However as they set off together to Constantinople, the story opens another strand - the story of John's mother. I can [...]

    13. 3.6 really because although its a cracking story, I didn't buy the characters. My problem - NO is a historian etc, he knows all about this stuff so there is a ring of truth in the story, the plot, the events, the actions, the battles, the tortures, the order, the players etc that's way it is so riveting. But, his use of Joan of Arc - please - 'the push' - the twins of Patrick Grant, the soul twins of John Grant and 'cripple Princeling Constantine' - please. Fiction, theory, fantasy, I'm not buyi [...]

    14. Really a 3.5. This is a story that ends up at the siege of Constantinople in 1453. It brings together the disparate characters we have met along the way. And we finally find out how they intertwine. I am still somewhat confused by this story. I loved all the historical bits. I thought it was clever the way mr Oliver tied up all the ends but I'm still not sure I understand it all. I can't really see why the John character had this weird power that allowed him to perceive the earth moving- literal [...]

    15. Great history in this book, interesting premise and fairly fast-paced. However a lot of events/characters seemed unnecessary and/or lacked depth. That being said, I'm not familiar with the history of Constantinople so perhaps the author was simply aiming to fit in as many actual historical events and people as possible alongside the fictitious aspects of the story.

    16. A real epic novel spanning continents and years. I loved this because it retained the sense of story rather than (as is too often the case) getting caught up in an excess of military history.

    17. For a first novel this is rather good :-) The only parts I didn't like were the torture scenes which made me feel sick and weepy as they were very graphic! Fab description throughout, I really felt like I was there at times and was very emotionally attached to the characters :-)

    18. Clearly, I'm a sucker for History, especially when it's woven into fiction.It was an adventure unto itself, I think. Neil Oliver, being an historian, has managed to mix the fact with the fiction wonderfully. The adventure, from Scotland to Constantinople, and the entwining of the characters was written well. I felt that some of the character's weren't necessary, and were pointless to the plot of the story. I also liked how he used the faith of the time to show the characters actions, and thought [...]

    19. I received this paperback copy from the publisher via in exchange for an honest reviewI had seen and enjoyed Neil Oliver’s history programmes on TV, and was eager to see what he could bring to fiction. I expected enthusiasm and historical content, but what I did not expect was such wonderful prose with vivid imagery – from the start of the prologue and throughout the book. It has one of my all time favourite, empathetic images of a loved one suffering from dementia: “Old age had taken Ama [...]

    20. The author of this work, Neil Oliver, is indeed the Scottish Historian and television presenter you’ve seen grace your screens on many programmes including the very popular ‘Coast’I’m rather partial to his work and enjoy historical fiction so when I saw this it was hard for me to resist. The book is set between fifteenth-century Constantinople, and the borders of Scotland where Lairds keep their power through violence. Young John Grant lives under the power of one of these Lairds with hi [...]

    21. Oh dear! I really, really wanted to like this book since I've read most of Neil Oliver's non-fiction historical books and found them written in an engaging and authoritative style. So I fully expected to be equally impressed by Mr Oliver's first foray into fiction. In addition, the main character, John Grant, was someone I'd come across in Dorothy Dunnett's Nicolo series and I wanted to know more about him. But what a disappointment! The writing is beautiful in places, particularly near the begi [...]

    22. Read for Novelicious:novelicious/2016/02/reExcerpt:Although I’m fairly well up on western European history in the fifteenth century, my knowledge about Constantinople in this period is very sketchy. But Neil Oliver does a really good job of bringing all the locations in this book to life – no matter what you already know about it. It feels like a lot of research has gone into Master of Shadows, but it is worn very lightly – there are no massive info dumps or moments where you feel like he [...]

    23. I'd give it 4.5 stars, but doesn't allow me to do that. It's a really great first novel - much much better than most freshman efforts and this is likely due to the fact that he is an absolutely natural storyteller. The only critical thing I'd say - and honestly, I liked the book so much and I like Neil Oliver so much that I'm loathe to hurt his feelings in any way, but it was something that stood out for me so I feel I must mention it - is that we stayed with John for so long in the beginning, [...]

    24. Loved it. I asked for it as a Christmas present and was not disappointed. A fascinating historical read, begins in Scotland then France then Constantinople. A place I know very little about historically. It sets the scene well.The story is interesting and characters well drawn. I wanted to know more about them all and the author reveals all slowly and keeps the mystery about all the relationships going.One note jarred with me though - Neil Oliver is a historian/ archaeologist so I was surprised [...]

    25. When I first picked up this book, I of course, imaged the narrative spoken in the wonderfully rich Scottish voice of its author, Neil Oliver, and, I wasn't disappointed by that, although there were times when the written narrative appeared a little more clumsy. There's no doubting the author's passion for his subject matter, and there is a nice realism to the story which comes from someone who clearly knows and understands history very well. It's more the overall effect of the story that left me [...]

    26. I really enjoy watching any documentary that Neil Oliver is involved with, his passion for history and archaeology very obvious in his presentation. This novel was no different, his depth of research and delight in the narrative clear in this fascinating tale, set in an era of history I know little about.The twists and turns keep you turning the pages and the characters are cleverly shaped, the author offering snippets here and there which eventually build up to form an intriguing picture of how [...]

    27. Neil Oliver is an engaging TV presenter with bags of enthusiasm & twinkly Celtic charm. This is his first novel, a historical epic culminating in the siege of Constantinople (this description alone, plus the classy cover, had my interest). It's certainly a grand adventure with swordplay, despicable villains and a young hero with a mysterious past. The action moves from 15th century Scotland to Spain, and the Constantinople siege is brought to vivid gory life. There are twists, lots of authen [...]

    28. Having been a fan of Neil Oliver since 'Two Men in a Trench', I was eagerly looking forward to seeing if his seemingly effortless presenting style and knack for making even the mundane seem interesting would translate into historical fiction. I was not disappointed. I found that it was easy to become completely immersed in the world brought to life by the author. As someone who is interested in history and archaeology, I appreciated the attention to detail and I found the descriptions of the pla [...]

    29. n fifteenth-century Constantinople, Prince Constantine saves the life of a broken-hearted girl. But the price of his valour is high.John Grant is a young man on the edge of the world. His unique abilities carry him from his home in Scotland to the heart of the Byzantine Empire in search of a girl and the chance to fulfil a death-bed promise.Lena has remained hidden from the men who have been searching for her for many years. When she's hunted down, at last she knows what she must do.With an army [...]

    30. I had high expectations of this debut novel from historian Neil Oliver but, sadly, I ended up disappointed. I thought I'd be getting a swashbuckling epic adventure of a young man's quest tied up with real historical events but the story seemed all over the place and the constant toing and froing with the timeline didn't always make sense. I was about 60 pages in when I realised that the lead character was only ever referred to by his full name (John Grant) and once I'd noticed this I couldn't un [...]

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