Richard Fidler
Richard Fidler
Writer - Broadcaster
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Writer-broadcaster Richard Fidler is the author of the best-selling Ghost Empire and co-author of Saga Land with Kári Gíslason.

Throughout the week, Richard presents Conversations with Richard Fidler, broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio. Conversations is the most popular podcast in Australia, with close to four million programs downloaded every month.

In another life Richard was a member of Australian comedy trio The Doug Anthony Allstars (DAAS), which played to audiences all over the world.





I adored this book - a wondrous compendium of Iceland’s best sagas
— Hannah Kent
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A fascinating insight into Iceland’s little-known history and literature, and a compelling story of one man’s quest to reclaim his identity.
— Financial Review
Digressive and compendious, it is a book that resists narrow classification ... Fidler and Gislason immerse themselves in every experience and encounter, and the reader along with them.
— Sydney Morning Herald

A new friendship.

An unforgettable journey.

A beautiful and bloody history.

This is Iceland as you've never read it before ...

Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kári Gíslason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland - the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages. These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown.

Together, Richard and Kári travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery - a gift from Kari's Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.

Kári Gíslason & Richard Fidler (photo: Luke Henry).

Kári Gíslason & Richard Fidler (photo: Luke Henry).


GHOST EMPIRE - PAPERBACK edition now available

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Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul—a three thousand year story of phantasms and delusions, of invasion, collapse, empire, decay, a tragic continuo of golden and grandiloquent hopelessness, an erotic magic-show poised at the sea-washed edges of Asia and Europe. All of this provides a canvas for Richard Fidler to reconstruct, quite brilliantly, a saga of power and glory that most of us vaguely remember, but few of us have had a chance fully to savor. Now, thanks to the stylish cleverness of an exceptionally curious and talented man, we can feast on what strange magic the city brought—and still brings today—to the world beyond. I am speechless with admiration.
— Simon Winchester
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Fidler’s story leaves its readers with a sense of faith in the renewing, illuminating, social powers of historical narrative. The tale of the Ghost Empire has bridged the gap between a father and son, enriching the contemporary world with the echoes of the past. Byzantium never really died. Its labyrinthine – its byzantine – intrigues cast their shadows over the city still.
— Sydney Morning Herald
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With this extraordinarily ambitious book, Richard Fidler throws himself into telling one of the world’s great stories ... this complex account is so vividly and thrillingly related. Fidler has a knack for cutting, weighty observation, at once light yet loaded with meaning and emotion.
— The Australian

True stories of blood, treasure and conquest from the City of the World's Desire.

In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard’s passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire – centred around the legendary Constantinople – we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilisations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder. Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son.

GHOST EMPIRE is a revelation: a beautifully written ode to a lost civilisation, and a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home.

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Fidler displays great charm in the telling of his tale, spicing it with delicious gossip.
— New York Times Book Review
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This is an invaluable addition to the growing literature on Byzantium... It doesn’t simply offer a gripping and fascinating story of crucial events in its 1000-year existence but adds the personal touch, the unearthing of its emotional significance through his visit to present-day Istanbul with his son.
— Prof. Vrasidas Karalis, Neos Kosmos
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Fidler’s prose is lively and entertaining; he has a great affection for his subject and often describes it in a way that makes it seem magical. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in traveling to Istanbul and in its history.
— Library Journal Review
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Fidler’s understanding of the Byzantine contribution to our civilisation is unimpeachable.
— Spectator
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Fidler provides a palpable sense of this glittering city built as “a mirror of heaven.
— Kirkus Review

Map of Constantinople 1597 (Wikimedia Commons).

Map of Constantinople 1597 (Wikimedia Commons).