Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Count Belisarius": a historical novel set in 6th century Byzantine Empire

I was very eager to read this book. First, I enjoy historical fictions based on true events. Second, I read Robert Graves' other novel about Roman emperor Claudius and it was great. So I had similar anticipation about this novel too. 

Byzantine empire achieved its greatest military glory in 6th century and general Belisarius was chiefly responsible for its success. Many heard of Emperor Justinian. But unlike some other famous Roman and Byzantine head of states, such as Caesar, Trajan or Basil II, emperor Justinian did not himself involve in military affairs. So it was general Belisarius who actually conducted successful "blitzkrieg" against Gothic and Vandal kingdoms occupying territories of former Western Roman Empire.

So, this novel is about general Belisarius. However, as soon as I started reading this novel, my immediate feeling was that some "magic" was missing in it. It is written in a style easily understandable even for 4th/5th grade school children, but it totally lacks "intensity". It was written in very formal, unemotional language.

I admit I stopped reading it at the time when Justinian becomes Emperor and Belisarius is sent to the eastern borders to fight Persian armies. What I read up to that point was not interesting enough for me to justify further reading. 

posted by David

No comments:

Post a Comment