Ms. Walsh brilliantly projects the dying splendor of Constantinople and the agony of its fall through the eyes of a...

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THE EMPEROR'S WINDING SHEET

Ms. Walsh brilliantly projects the dying splendor of Constantinople and the agony of its fall through the eyes of a shipwrecked English boy who becomes an unwilling companion to the last Emperor, having appeared as if in answer to a prophecy maintaining that while one person present at Constantine's coronation remains at his side the city is safe. Longing at first view of the ""improvident 'foreign spring"" for the different greens of England, Piers (renamed Vrethiki) is yet moonstruck by the glittering city (and shocked in a stunning scene when a golden goblet he drops proves to be painted glass). Forced to share the experiences of the devoted Emperor's retinue -- the tension and atmosphere of foreboding from the start, the rumors and increasingly tangible threats from the Turks, the internal intrigue and vain expectation of outside aid and at last the fatal 57-day siege -- Vrethiki comes to consider the doomed Constantine (whose Empire at last ""makes a splendid winding sheet"") his ""own true lord."" Walsh's ability to make the inevitable so exciting and the remote so vivid is impressive, and her prose becomes her subject like a technicolor film so consistently sumptuous that almost any moment might be selected as a still to represent the whole.

Pub Date: April 15, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974