A treasure trove of manuscripts discovered while restoring an ancient monastery, documents the fortunes of the inhabitants of the city of Melite, as they navigate the changing circumstances of the ninth century. New kingdoms rule over the fragmented remains of the Roman Empire in the west. In the east, the Byzantine Empire - heir of ancient Rome - is beset on all fronts. Letters cross the Mediterranean, furthering the ambitions of Saracen emirs and fueling the meanderings of Byzantine politics. The southernmost outposts of the Empire of the Romans are forced to confront the territorial ambitions of an old enemy as one at a time, cities in Sicily are lost to the inexorable advance of the Saracen invasion. Further south on the island of Melete, the city of Melite watches the gradual erosion of Roman dominion, and prepares for siege.
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