But now Mehmet the Conqueror, the youthful and ambitious Sultan of the Ottoman Empire intends against formidable odds to lay siege against the city. To him and his loyal inner circle, the mere existence of Constantinople is a curse to Islam. The city of the infidels has not fallen in eight hundred years despite the Islamic empire‚Äôs attempts to bring down its walls. To capture the last capitol of the Roman Empire and take on the mantle of the Romans would make Mehmet master of both East and West.
The risks, however, are many. He secretly desires to be accepted and respected yet his own people have neither trust nor confidence in him. To make matters worse, the powerful Grand Vizier, Halil, despises Mehmet as much as Mehmet despises him and is secretly trying to undermine the siege and, indeed, even the Mehmet‚Äôs rule over the Ottoman Empire.
And while Mehmet believes in himself and his destiny, he is tormented by his desire and ambition to prove himself worthy of the throne his father once took away from him.
On the other side of the walls of Constantinople, the reigning emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Constantine XI Palaiologos, knows that the city over which he rules is no longer as formidable as it once was. To find a way to defeat the greatest army of the medieval world about to lay siege to his fortress, he must depend on assistance from others to defeat the Ottomans.
But the price of aid is high, the risks daunting. He must turn to the leaders of the Italian city-states, renown for their self-serving and treacherous ways. He must count on the Hungarian army under the leadership of John Hunyadi, the greatest Christian military leader of his time, to ally themselves with him even though their king has promised Mehmet that they would not join forces with Constantine. Finally, Pope Nicholas V demands in exchange for his assistance that the Eastern Church must submit to the Latin Rite of the Church in Rome. If Constantine wants aid for his people, he must choose between their lives and their souls.
Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.