Date: 13 Mar 2007 10:37 am Title: Chapter 5
Superb. Great historical detail and a lively and entertaining story. I roared with laughter at your sly little deliberate anachronism in the second-last chapter, and wept for Leila at the end.
The formula for Greek Fire wasn't really lost centuries before the story; in fact it had been used against the Franks only the previous year when the Fourth Crusade attacked Constantinople, and the memoirs of Jean de Joinville contain an eye-witness account of its use in the Seventh Crusade in 1244. The secret was really lost some time between then and the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. That's a tiny point, however, and didn't spoil my enjoyment of this delightful tale.
Author's Response: Hurrah! Reviews are finally working!rnrnThank you! Yes, I realised not long ago that Greek Fire was still around, possibly to the end. I thought about changing that when reposting it here, but I decided to leave it. My (rather tenuous) retcon is that actually the Byzantines were no way going to let it be used somewhere they weren't in control like Jerusalem/Syria, for fear of the formula falling into potential enemy hands; but Alexander didn't want to admit that and deal with Leila arguing about how stupid that was, so he just told her the formula was lost. Or something like that.