Monday 20 November 2017

Agents of Empire

Noel Malcom, 2015
(November 2017)

A fascinating book. Takes as its premise the interconnected stores of a family of minor Albanian nobility, and follows them through their various trials and tribulations in Venice, the Balkans, and Istanbul in the late 1500s. Slightly ponderous writing, but not overbearingly so, and every so often contains gems such as this: "…the chronicler Ureche would have nothing good to say about Aron. His main passions, allegedly, were 'pillage, debauchery, gambling and bagpipe-players.'" Thorough, enlightening, and on occasion surprisingly funny.

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