The Time of Troubles Cycle is a tetralogy of novels by Harry Turtledove, set in the Videssos Series. The cycle is comprised of The Stolen Throne, Hammer and Anvil, The Thousand Cities, and Videssos Besieged. All four novels were published by Del Rey from 1995 to 1998. They were collected in two omnibus volumes, The Time of Troubles I and The Time of Troubles II by Baen in 2005.

The first omnibus that contains the first two novels.

The Stolen Throne[]

For more details, see:The Stolen Throne


When Peroz King of Kings of Makuran falls in battle with the Empire of Videssos,the Kingdom of Makuran is thrown into chaos, even while while facing invasion by the Videssians. Worse, a power-hungry minister, Smerdis, rises to the throne.

Abivard, son of a man who fell in the same battle as the previous King of Kings, decides that for the sake of his family and country, he must find the real heir to the throne, Sharbaraz. He is helped in this task by the Videssian Avtokrator Likinios, in exchange for the mines of Vaspurakan.

Once Sharbaraz becomes King of Kings of Makuran, he promotes Abivard to Marshal, the Makuraner equivalent of Grand Domestikos, and entrusts him with conquering Videssos with an impostor, a man who looks like the rightful heir to throne as Videssos dissolves into chaos borne of civil war.

Hammer and Anvil[]

For more details, see:Hammer and Anvil


A ruthless tyrant, Genesios, has usurped the throne, due the revolt the army commanders made against Likinios when he made the army of the Empire of Videssos winter north of Astris River in the Pardrayan steppe. Genesios has his predecessor slain along with his sons right in front of his eyes. This pattern continues as he executes and horribly mutilates anybody he suspects of treason against his position as Avtokrator of Videssos.

Finally, Maniakes and his father, exiled in Kalavria for six years by Likinios, have had enough of hearing of Genesios' latest atrocities and the chaos it's spreading all over Videssos. Also spurring them to action is the news that Makuran has invaded the country. They launch a campaign to get back the throne from Genesios and install the younger Maniakes in his stead.

Everybody doubts, what with the violence and chaos, that Videssos will last long. In the end though, while the Videssians lose the all of the west-lands to the Makuraners, they destroy Etzilios', the khagan of the attacking Kubratoi, army by the end of the book.

The Thousand Cities[]

The second omnibus that contains the last two novels.

For more detail, see:The Thousand Cities


Sharabaraz King of Kings has lost touch with reality living in the sheltered Mashiz court life. One of his policies has forced Abivard to abandon his conquests in the Videssian westlands and put down a rebellion in Vaspurakan.

Now, Maniakes has attacked the Makuraner heartlands, driving straight through the Thousand Cities towards Mashiz. All Abivard has to stop him are garrison troops and some his loyal troopers.

Abivard's-and Makuran's-fate will be decided by what happens in the region between the Tutub and Tib rivers.

Videssos Besieged[]

For more detail, see:Videssos Besieged


Maniakes had been preparing to take revenge on the devastation Makuran had wrecked on Videssos during the bloody reign of Genesios. And so he invaded Makuran's vital heartland the Thousand Cities, driving straight towards Mashiz. But his onetime friend Abivard repulsed him and is forced to abandon the attack.

Now, Maniakes is ready once again. He attacks Makuran once again and is expected to be beset by Makuran's infamous heavy cavalry. But attack comes and Maniakes learned that the Makuraners - along with their Kubratoi allies - have attacked Videssos the city itself. Unless the Avtokrator breaks the siege his reign - and his realm's life - will be cut short.

Literary Comment[]

The era of the Cycle is based on the war between Sassanid Persia and the Byzantine Empire, in particular the conflict of 602–628, though the effects aren't that severe for the warring sides in the Videssian universe as Sassanid Persia fell to the Arabs in our world while Makuran, which is based on Persia, doesn't fall until approximately 600 years after the Time of Troubles. (See The Videssos Cycle.)

Genesios is based on the Byzantine usurper Phocas, and Maniakes is based on Heraclius, though he shares his name with a Byzantine general.

Within the Videssos universe, the series is notable for being the only set of novels without a direct appearance by the evil mage Rhavas. He has a brief but significant background role in Hammer and Anvil.