We are happy to announce the upcoming release of our first book, titled Midway Through the Plunge: John Cantacuzenus and the Fall of Byzantium. It is based on the “Fall of Byzantium” series of articles (read it here) about the trials and tribulations of the Byzantine Empire in the middle of the 14th century. This was the reign of Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus. The empire, which had been under foreign rule less than a century before, was shakily trying to restore its past glory.
Fortune would not be cooperative. Byzantium was pummeled from without by devastating blows—natural disaster, plague, and invading armies. From within, it was afflicted with the perennial maladies of domestic strife, scheming, and venomous court politics. Amidst these storm gales, John Cantacuzenus had the unenviable task of mending the fragile Byzantine state even as it crumbled in his hands.
The reign of Cantacuzenus is not just a gripping story, but it teaches a lot about history and human nature. He and his contemporaries lived in a world almost unfathomable to our modern eyes, in which everything was collapsing around them. The old order was falling apart, but would a new order arise to take its place? Evil seemed to be sweeping across the whole world. Horrific reports of the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death arrived from the west; in the east, storm clouds gathered as the Turks began to show their true strength. Surely the End Times were near.
Against this gloomy backdrop unfolded a crackling tale with lots of color. The future was uncertain, but the people of the time did not give into despair; they instead faced the future and fought manfully to save their civilization. Above all, Midway Through the Plunge is about this interaction between fate and human action. How much could those individuals affect history, and how were their actions in turn constrained by events? If the Byzantine Empire was mostly doomed by that point, what was the significance of anyone’s effort? Although we know the ultimate fate of the empire, Midway Through the Plunge ends in a spirit of hope for anyone who loves Byzantium.
How You Can Purchase
Since we are eager to get the book out to you, it will be released in several iterations. The first will be an improved compilation of the articles that formed the “Fall of Byzantium” series, and will be out in a week or two. There will be at least two subsequent iterations, which will make the book much longer and will include maps and supplementary information.
Here’s the catch: if you purchase now, it will only cost you $0.99. You will automatically receive updated versions as they are released, at no extra charge. This guarantees that you get the full book in its final form, but only pay a dollar. If you wait for the release of later editions to purchase, you will still receive subsequent updates, but the initial price will be more expensive.
Midway Through the Plunge is available for pre-order now. Your copy will be emailed to you on or before the release date.