Mika Waltari
Publication date
Format info
453 pages

The Dark Angel

Johannes Angelos

The searingly powerful story of the Fall of Constantinople

Written in a diary format, and inspired by the real diary of Niccolò Barbaro, The Dark Angel describes the 1943 siege of Christian Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

The novel begins as John Angelos, a visionary and world-weary traveller, meets Anna Notaras in Constantinople. The pair instantly fall in love. Meanwhile, the Byzantine Empire has shrunk to a shadow of its former glory and is crumbling in on itself. As the city prepares to face a massive Turkish army, Angelos and Noraras pursue a passionate affair that is marred by sadness and tragedy.

The Dark Angel provides a vivid and apocalyptic account of the siege and fall of Constantinople. The book has been praised for its historical accuracy, with Mika Waltari visiting Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, which held Niccolò Barbaro’s original diary, in 1952. Waltari was the fourth person in history to be granted access to the book.

Young Johannes is a prequel to The Dark Angel.

Mika Waltari (1908-1979) is the most popular 20th century Finnish writer who is best known for his magnus opus The Egyptian. Over a career that spanned five decades, Waltari published well over 100 works, of which 200 translations have been made. His works include at least 30 novels, 20 plays and 15 novellas, as well as short stories, poems, screenplays and essays. In 1957 he was appointed to the Academy of Finland, having previously won the state literature award five times. Waltari’s works have been translated into over 40 languages.


Young Johannes, 1981
The Dark Angel, 1952

Rights sold

Bulgarian (Knizen tigr 1993)
Croatian (Kersovani 1957 / A3DATA 1996)
Czech (Vysehrad 2021)
Danish (Vilhelm Prior 1953)
Dutch (Van Holkema & Warendorf 1954)
English (G.P. Putnam’s 1952)
Estonian (Sinisukk 1995)
Farsi (Intishārāt-i Zarrīn 1984 / Almı̄ 1995)
French (Presses 1984 / Phébus 1989)
Hebrew (Zohar 1953)
Hungarian (Európa 1996, Barrus 2006)
German (Kübler 2012)
Greek (Cactus 1982 / Kalendis 2002)
Italian (Garzanti 1954 / Iperborea 2013)
Latvian (Dzintars 1954)
Lithuanian (Tyto Alba 1989), rights reverted
Norwegian (Aschehoug 1953)
Polish (Iskry 1988 / Książnica 1994)
Portuguese, Brazilian (Merito 1958)
Romanian (Polirom 2008)
Serbian (A3DATA 1996, Tabernakl 2008)
Slovakian (Slovensky spisovatel 1988)
Slovenian (Obzorja 1978)
Spanish (Edhasa 1994)
Swedish (Wahlström & Widstrand 1953)
Turkish (Hamle Matbaasi, Cep Kitaplari 2000), rights reverted


“The events John Angelos is recording are those of the siege and capture of Constantinople by the Osmanli Sultan, Mohammed II. The time span is from 12 December 1452 – 30 May 1453. Packed into this period of less than six months are some of the most dramatic and historically significant events of medieval Christendom. Mr. Waltari, as a novelist, knows how to wring out of them, with embellishments, every ounce of human drama.” – Edmund Fuller, The Saturday Review

“…a vivid account of an apocalyptic event.” – Historical novels blog