Lost to the West by Lars Brownworth argues that “Rome never fell — it simply moved five hundred miles East — to Byzantium.” After the fall of Rome, the walls of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) were the primary defense against marauding nomads and Islamic warriors. Inside, their archives preserved the riches of classical civilization. Their achievement was immense, but won by blood. Between palace intrigues, patricides, fratricides, scheming queens, and public riots, the story reads like source material for Game of Thrones (no dragons, tho). Author Brownworth takes a breezy approach, condensing a lot of history into a quick and lively read. Look for more real life stories in our Meredith News column this Thursday.