"Burning Time"

Creator: David P Booth
Age rating: 17 and older
The hunt for the secret of the weapon "Greek Fire", set against the violent siege that led to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the final end of the Roman Empire - The story may be compared in some respects with the film "Kingdom of Heaven.
Synopsis: 'Greek Fire' was the weapon that was partly responsible for the safety of the Roman Empire in the East, in Byzantium: it was a flammable liquid which pumped out over an enemy or his ships would ignite and consume everything in an inferno of flame. How it was made was a secret, and a secret that was lost when the Turkish armies of the Sultan Mehmet over-ran the walls of Constantinople, capturing the City and putting many to the sword in 1453. The last Emperor of Constantinople died in the final battle, and his body was never found.

'Greek Fire' also features in recent fiction, in the sea battle in "Game of Thrones".

When it became clear to the western powers of Europe that the armies of the Sultan intended to lay siege to Constantinople, though they may have had differing views as to whether to attempt to go to the aid of the people of the city, it was clearly vital that the secret of how to make the fire should not fall into the hands of Mehmet and his Generals. Military aid was sent to the Emperor, but also with the clear instructions to stop the secret being given up.

A very considerable amount of the violent and tragic story is absolutely true. After a sea battle (in which the fire was used) the navy of the West reached the City. But they were too late to change the outcome. The largest cannon ever yet made was used to batter the walls of Constantinople; tunnels were dug to undermine them. I have added the character of a 'hit-man', Iago, whose job it is to either find the Greek Fire secret, or to prevent it falling into Mehmet's possession.

The secret was lost, as was the City. But it may still be out there somewhere ... in some dusty and ancient monastery library.

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