Hammer and Anvil  
Author Harry Turtledove
Cover artist Stephn Youll
Series The Time of Troubles
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey
Publication date August, 1996
Preceded by The Stolen Throne
Followed by The Thousand Cities

Hammer and Anvil is the second volume in The Time of Troubles series, which is part of the larger Videssos Series. It was published by Del Rey in August 1996, and reprinted together with The Stolen Throne as part of The Time of Troubles I by Baen in 2005.

A ruthless tyrant, Genesios, has taken the throne of the Avtokrator of Videssos.[1] His policy seems to be to execute enemies of his, whether there or not. Neither does he attempt to solve the Empire of Videssos' problems, chief among them the Makuraner invasion in the west and the Kubratoi in the east.[2]

Maniakes the younger, exiled for six years to Kalavria by Genesios' predecessor Likinios, has decided to take the throne back from the despotic Genesios. He was spurred to action by the latter's murders and the enemy invasions.[3]

He launches a campaign to capture Videssos the city. He recognizes that his fortunes will be decided on the seas and strips Kalavria of ships and men, leaving it vulnerable to attack. He lands in Opsikion, first of the many towns that revile Genesios and Its residents immediately declare for Maniakes. From there on, he commands the fleet while his cousin, Rhegorios, commands the land forces.

After reaching the Key, more than a third of the Videssian navy joins Maniakes' forces, though a few are still loyal to Genesios and flee to Videssos the city[4]. Outside the city, both sides' naval arms fight hard but Genesios forces lose and Maniakes takes control of the city. He himself executes Genesios[5] and is made Avtokrator the same day, with Rhegorios his Sevastos

It is hinted that Genesios' wizard, the sorcerer who attacked Maniakes magically at Opsikion, is Rhavas, who otherwise has no role in the series.[6]

Maniakes tries to pay Etzilios, khagan of the Kubratoi, tribute so that he could concentrate on beating the Makuraners but is attacked by the nomads at the diplomatic meeting[7]. The war in the east continues and only stops when the Avtokrator agrees to pay fifteen thousand goldpieces with the Kubratoi emissaries as hostages.

The Avtokrator solves the problem of the nearly empty treasury by taking money from Phos' temple, a move unprecedented in all of the Empire's history.[8]

Using that money to pay his men, he tries to get back the west-lands in vain. Abivard's men are soon in Across, the suburb on the other side of the Cattle Crossing, just opposite Videssos the city. When the summer comes, Maniakes tries to take back the west-lands, using "pinprick attacks" such as major raids and minor attacks but is pushed back to Videssos the city. Throughout the conflict, Abivard keeps correspondence with the Avtokrator, even expressing his opinion that Makuran and Videssos can live side by side and informing him that the Videssian envoy Triphylles had been imprisoned and had later died in the prison he was put in by Sharbaraz.

The book ends with Maniakes defeating Etzilios' forces, who had attacked regardless of treaty, using ambushes and flank attacks or as he calls them 'Hammer and Anvil' tactics.


  1. The Stolen Throne, pg. 365,
  2. pg.381, Hammer and Anvil (The Time of Troubles Omnibus Edition)
  3. pg.393,Ibid.
  4. pg.471,Ibid.
  5. pg.484,Ibid.
  6. pg.498,Ibid.
  7. pg.533,Ibid.
  8. pg.578,Ibid.