Its a mini-book so this is a mini-review. Leo the Wise was the founder of the Macedonian dynasty of the Byzantine Empire.
His life was fairly eventful, but it isn’t obvious from this account that anything he did was particularly wise, though he did just about manage to get the dynasty off on fairly firm footing.
Lars is mainly known as the first history podcaster, with his 12 Byzantine rulers being an inspiration to many. This book has many of the virtues of that series. By concentrating on a particular individual it has a strong story line. It is very clear and easy to read.
The only problem with it is, for me at least, it is too short. This might be personal preference – after all my favourite book is Gibbon’s Decline and Fall which is definitely on the longish side – but I think most people will get to the end of Leo the Wise thinking ‘Was that it?’. But its cheap enough so there are no grounds for complaint. If you stop for lunch on a long journey it will cost you less than a coffee and sandwich, and probably only last you slightly longer.
It will be interesting to see if this catches on as a format. Maybe there will be Kindle owners who find the idea of downloading a cheap book the length of a magazine article that they can polish off fairly quickly appealling.