Mehmet II (14321481) ascended to the throne of the Ottoman Empire when he was only 12. In spite of his youth, he had an energetic desire to rule the kingdom, physical prowess and a precocious intellect, which made him one of the most brilliant and most feared of all medieval Muslim rulers. In this alternately tedious and fast-paced chronicle, historian Freely, of Bosphorus University in Istanbul, shows Mehmet as cunning and politically and militarily astute. Mehmet turned his back on a peace treaty he had signed with emperor Constantine XI and attacked Byzantium's capital, Constantinople, capturing the city when he was barely 21. His troops looted much of the city and Mehmet, who reportedly shed tears at the destruction of such beauty, spent much of the rest of his reign rebuilding it. By 1463, Mehmet the Conqueror ruled the former dominions of the Byzantine Empire from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. In one short chapter, Freely then rushes through roughly 450 years of history to the Ottoman Empire's end after WWI. Mehmet's colorful and dashing exploits deserve better than this colorless biography. B&w illus., 2 maps. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.