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'Engagingly fresh and vivid . . . The 21-year-old Mehmet [the Ottoman Sultan] emerges from this book as ruthless but innovative, irascible but versatile and, above all, indefatigable - a worthy successor to Alexander and the Roman emperors he admired as much as any Muslim hero.' Malise Ruthven, Sunday Times In the spring of 1453, the Ottoman Turks advanced on Constantinople in pursuit of an ancient Islamic dream: capturing the thousand-year-old capital of Christian Byzantium. During the siege that followed, a small band of defenders, outnumbered ten to one, confronted the might of the Ottoman army in an epic contest fought on land, sea and underground. 'In this account of the 1453 siege, written in crackling prose by former Istanbul resident Roger Crowley - his first book and not, I hope, his last - we are treated to narrative history at its most enthralling.' Christopher Silvester, Daily Express 'A vivid and readable account of the siege . . . [And] an excellent traveller's guide to how and why Istanbul became a Muslim city.' Philip Mansel, Guardian