The Byzantine Empire was a long forgot segment of Mediterranean History that seems to be undergoing something of a rediscovery recently. I'm unsure why it's history seemed to slip down the back of the rhetorical sofa as it's certainly a most tumultuous and colourful history full of victory, disaster, insane characters, powerful characters and the usual battles, religious turmoil and tales that accompany any medieval history. This is a summarised version of John Julius Norwich's three volume Byzantine history and he does a remarkable job of covering a thousand years of history in a clear, concise and engaging manner, never dull, never losing momentum and with a pace almost worthy of fiction as you look forward to reading further to see what happens next.