A Place Called Armageddon

The Fall of Constantinople 1453

OPENING LINE: “We are coming, Greek.”

To the Greeks who love it, it is Constantinople. To the Turks who covet it, the Red Apple. Safe behind its magnificent walls, the city was once the heart of the vast Byzantine empire.

1453. The empire has shrunk to what lies within those now-crumbling walls. A relic. Yet for one man, Constantinople is the stepping stone to destiny. Mehmet is twenty when he is annointed Sultan. Now, seeking Allah’s will and Man’s glory, he brings an army of one hundred thousand, outnumbering the defenders ten to one. He has also brings something new – the most frightening weapon the world has ever seen…

But a city is more than stone, its fate inseparable from that of its people. Men like Gregoras, a mercenary and exile, returning to the hated place he once loved. Like his twin and betrayer, the subtle diplomat, Theon. Like Sofia, loved by two brothers but forced to make a desperate choice between them. And Leilah, a powerful mystic and assassin, seeking her own destiny in the flames.

This is the tale of one of history’s greatest battles for one of the world’s most extraordinary places. This is the story of people, from peasant to emperor – with the city’s fate, and theirs, undecided… until the moment the Red Apple falls.

(If you want to see my short film on this go to the bottom of the page!)

Hot off the press review… and possibly the best:
‘Just for history and the plot alone, this book is worth reading.
But if you read the book just for history and plot, you would be missing something – perhaps the best thing about the book. There are good books with hum-drum words and adequate stories. This book is written with prose. Every scene is crafted with an eye for pace, a feel for flow and an ear for rhythm, as if the stage actor in Chris was reading every word on a stage in one of London’s West End Theatres (where he once performed). The words are mesmerizing and beautiful and hand-crafted to be perfect in every syllable.’ Joe Beernink

Also, a lovely review from the very talented (and obviously perceptive!) Manda Scott on ‘Good Reads’.

“Gregoras is the archetypal wounded hero and he comes across as flawed, dangerous and immensely likeable, surrounded by a full, deep supporting cast which is one of this book’s great strengths: nobody is a cipher, no character fails to engage early and completely. In a world where historical novels are so often full of twentyfirst characters in drag, and even those are two dimensional, this book is so full of three-d, real people, it’s impossible not to want both sides to win. In the end, only one can, and it’s heart-breaking, tho’ I suspect it would have been just as bad had it gone the other way.
From a writing perspective, what’s so interesting about CC Humphreys’ style is that he switches viewpoint mid-scene on a regular basis. Few people attempt this and even fewer succeed in doing it smoothly. Humphreys does it with style and panache and it gives an interesting insight into some of the trickier encounters. It’s not something I’d imagine doing, but I’m impressed with it here…”

And here’s the short film I made for my US publisher’s sale conference in Chicago:

35 Responses to A Place Called Armageddon

  1. Pingback: Mr Humphreys goes on Virtual Walkabout… in his dressing gown | AUTHOR. ACTOR. SWORDSMAN.

  2. Benson Jones says:

    Just bought this book two days ago and I’m in the middle of reading it and I absolutely love it! The story is intoxicating and the characters are so great. Finding a really good historical fiction book during this time period is hard. I wish I was reading it right now but Im stuck at work! boo.

  3. sappho1 says:

    I just bought this book today at SIWC and started reading it on the bus going home. Excellent! And I loved your workshop today. We spoke briefly at the book signing. My historic novel “Shadow of the Lion” is with an agent now. (the Greek historical). Check it out on my website
    http://www.ruthkozak.com And have a great time in Istanbul. I love that city!

  4. ahmet kamil özay says:

    I just finished book. fictional story is really nice. also expressed the objectives of both sides. it is usually unilateral history books. thank u so much… I hope one day u meet a

    • Are you writing from Turkey? If so you are my first Turkish reader. So glad you liked it. I will be in Istanbul and Ankara in November. Check ‘Appearances’ on my website in next few weeks. Be great to see you there.

      • ahmet kamil özay says:

        this is really true. Everywhere I read this book. through the course of the bus before class… many of my friends who wants to read the book. I will definitely check their ‘Appearances’ in, and I’ll be there. see u there… inşallah.

  5. Ramiz Abay says:

    Hi Mr. Humphreys,
    I have read recently Armageddon.
    It was not only a breathless reading of a lover of historic novels. But it was also of a ex sailor who has dared to start writing. So I also read your advices carefully. I’m sure they will help me much.
    I’m not in a position at all to criticize a novel,especially one of Bestsellers.
    However, as an expert sailor I feel obliged to correct some info about waters in wich you told some stories. (İn the Bosphorus, The Golden Horn and Corcula)
    Tidal movements (currents, foolds and ebbs) in the coastal waters of any Ocean is part of daily life. However the people in the Mediterranean, particularly those in the eastern half are unaware of them. İf the water level rise two feet then the people run away from seaside in belief of an approaching catastrophy :).
    Water level may rarely change in Adriatic. But here in Istanbul it change only because of strong winds which is not considerable for navigation at all.
    As you probably know, there is a strong southerly current in Bosphorus. But it is a result of the overspilling waters of Black Sea to the Med. So,a sailboat can never keep it’s position without anchor or mooring even in a zero weather condition.
    I don’t know how many more Turkish sailors will read your books.(I wish many, many). But you may consider to correct the relevant parts in the new edition(s).
    I’m a little bit ashamed of the youngsters’ brutal:( behaviour near the city walls. Not only because they were my citizens but also because I wasn’t there. If you save some time to a city tour at your next appearance I will be volunteer to guide and guard you just as Gegoras guarded Emperor Constantine 🙂
    You’ll be asked only to sign my copy of P.C. Armageddon in exchange.
    I will try to be there at the book fair.

    My best regards.

    Ramiz ABAY

    • Mark says:

      Ramos I’d love to visit your amazing city.

      • Ramiz Abay says:

        I’ll be more than happy to meet you if and when it happens,
        Same promises to you as to Mr. HUMPHREYS 🙂
        I promise more interesting places to see than ordinary city tours.

  6. Mark says:

    Read Armageddon, loved it!
    Just finished Vlad. Loved it more!!
    Thank you for a truly great read.

  7. Alison D says:

    I just aquired you book through Barnes & Noble – Im very excited to read about this beautiful place Iv only seen pictures of. So excited

  8. Joe M says:

    Love the book! Just one problem, the Byzantines never considered themselves “greek” they still referred to themselves as Romans.

    • Thanks, Joe. So glad you liked it.
      As to ‘Greeks’ and ‘Romans’, I am sure you appreciate I did a fair bit of research for the novel! Earlier indeed the Byzantines referred to themselves as Romans. By this time, though they considered themselves the heirs of the Roman Empire, they referred to themselves, and their enemies called them, Greeks. Its in all the contemporary reports, European and Turkish.

      • Joe M says:

        Interesting, I was always under the impression that even in the Palaiologan Dynasty the Emperors still referred to themselves as “Autokrat of the Romans”

  9. John M. says:

    Hey Chris, I am enjoying your book. I do have a question however. In Chapter 9 you refer to Leilah having charts which show a conjunction of Venus and Neptune. Are these supposed to be astrological charts showing the planets Neptune and Venus? If so, it would be impossible since Neptune wasn’t discovered until 1846 and so was not included in astrology practiced in the 15th century.

  10. Octavius Azura says:

    I am haftway in the book now.. and I find already exciting…..

  11. Octavius Azura says:

    English Sir. I’m from the Philippines and we have english as a primary medium of instruction. I love your presentations of the ethos of Constantine XI and Mehmet Fetih. Its very immersive.

  12. Phil Robinson says:

    What a magnificent book, thoroughly enjoyed reading this superb work, many congratulations Chris. It’s also great for somebody to write about other periods in history, I mean how many novels are based in either Roman or Napoleonic times? Both this and the Jack Absolute series are about periods that no other author has tried. Thanks for that, a bit a variety is never a bad thing.

  13. Pingback: Armageddon In Greece: My novel in the birthplace of literature | AUTHOR. ACTOR. SWORDSMAN.

  14. Kaylie Walters says:

    I have already read the book twice, and I can’t get enough of it! I have to say, my favorite character has to be Gregoras Lascaris. I love the way he is described, and not only him but Constantinople as well. After reading this book, I would love to see the magnificent walls for myself! Not only that, but I would like to work on finding out what actually happened to Constantine (I’m not about to go looking under Constantinople in search for him, though; that would be silly for a 13-year-old to do). It seems strange that he disappeared so suddenly. Constantine and Mehmet are tied as my second-favorite characters; their leadership and courage are my inspiration. The discription of their exhaustion during the seige were great additions to the storyline. I also loved the fact that you used the Greek and Turkish terms instead of translating them; it made me feel like I was actually in the story. Achmed was another favorite of mine; it was so heart-warming to read that he found a home for little Minerva. His courage was also a great motivational pathway for me. I enjoyed reading this action-pack novel, and hope to read further into your writings.

  15. Pavel Koterniak says:

    Hi Chris,
    I am fellow Canadian, just like you. I am from Toronto, ON.
    I was just trying to get your book, which fascinated me!!! ( I read a paper copy from my friend) from Barnes and Nobles website. (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/place-called-armageddon-cc-humphreys/1110914274?ean=9781402272493)
    I was looking for an ebook. Understand my surprise (to say the least!) when they said it is only available in US!!!
    Is there any way to buy the ebook in Canada.
    Please message me, when you have time, at pvkot89@gmail.com
    Thank you so much,

  16. Marina Angel says:

    Your book is good overall except for a few mistakes. 
    1. The depiction of the statue of the Virgin Mary being carried on a platform in a procession of men is typical of Sicily and Southern Italy, Catholic areas.
    Orthodox Churches, Greek, Russian, Serbian, Armaninan, etc. have icons not statues. Statues are considered idols by the Orthodox. It was a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, which had previously saved the city, which was carried in procession. 
    2; The name of the city was Constantinople until the late 1920’s. Also, Istanbul is a Greek word Es Ten Polis, ‘to the city. Just as Rome was the city in the west; Constanstinople was the city in the East. The worst bastardization of the name that I heard on my last two trips to Istanbul was ”Islanbul,’  as taught by several mhullas. Adrianopolis, Hadrian’s City, was not changed to Edirne  until the 20th Century. 
    3. My mother was born and raised in Constantinople and always referred to herself as Rum. She knew her history and that of her city and passed the knowledge on to me. 

    • Thanks for taking the time to write, Marina. I used a lot of sources and they have referred to statues not icons. Edirne flummoxes me – I thought I saw it referred to that in old texts. Oh well, glad I got most of it right and that you enjoyed it.

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