In this first biography of Theodore Paleologus, new documentary evidence exposes him as a hardened mercenary and killer in the pay of the wicked Earl of Lincoln but also supports his imperial pretensions - long dismissed by historians. Yet despite his black record, memorial services are still conducted with imperial honours at Theodore's grave in Cornwall and he now enjoys a new lease of life in fantasy fiction.
Award-winning author John Hall traces the extraordinary real lives of Theodore Paleologus and his three sons - from contract killings throughout Europe to fighting one another in the English Civil War, and from buccaneering on the Spanish Main to a pioneering role in the Caribbean slave trade. Their true story is contrasted with parallel lives on the wilder shores of literature which link Theodore to the bloodline of Christ, the biblical End of Days, and a claim to the throne of England. Here, Hall finally separates fact from fable in the patchy history of this legendary but elusive villain.