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Justinian by Turtletaub
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The first hundred pages I was bored. It was only slightly more interesting than the "begats" in Genesis. Then I found myself on page 397, reading avidly at 1 a.m. The book suddenly took off, interesting, vivid and suspenseful. Well, not really suspenseful because you know how it's going to turn out, but with a definite dramatic drive to it.

Part of its charm is due to the interspersed comments by aged blind Myakes, who figures prominently as a young soldier bodyguard throughout the book, and who makes asides to Brother Elpidies full of humor and the vision that comes with old age.

Highly recommended; just grit your teeth during the ancestry and childhood portions. (Though I admit the scene on the city walls is memorable and speaks volumes about Justinian's basic nature).

Thanks to Sue for recommending the book! Now if she could just package up a few hours' extra sleep in a small container and ship it to me....

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