Byzantium stretches a weakening grip across Eastern Europe, trying in vain to hold onto all that has made it an empire. Tyrian purple, the unique dye that denotes its power, is held under close guard by the imperial house.
However a Jewish merchant from Venice has sourced an illegal supply and Tobias the dwarf minstrel and his twin brother, Tomas, begin a dangerous journey to retrieve the purple and deliver it into the merchant’s eager hands.
But is this supply as secret as they had hoped?
Trade is cut throat, men are expendable, money is power and Constantinople provides the exotic backdrop during a time of scimitars and shadows.
This is Tobias – the story of a minstrel and a broken life…
Prue Batten’s first installment in The Triptych Chronicles, Tobias, is a tale filled with intrigue, danger, and heart. Set in the late twelfth century, the tale follows the titular protagonist in his journey from Venice to Constantinople in search of the famed Tyrian purple dye.
Tobias is an unusual but fully-fleshed character, a minstrel, a spy, and a dwarf. Batten handles the character’s physical size adroitly, and it’s clear that the author’s research not only into the history of the era but the physical condition as well was extensive. The supporting cast of characters is well-rounded, and the depiction of the fraught, evolving bonds of brotherhood is particularly gripping. The plot is complex and multi-layered, and there is a physical atmosphere to the story: The settings of the ship, Crete, and Istanbul are so vividly detailed the reader is transported.
Filled with unique characters and a taut plot, Tobias is an enthralling tale written in eloquent, elegant prose that will grip the reader from the first page to the last.
Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, particularly tales of adventure and intrigue