Fortune’s Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora by James Conroyd Martin is a historical novel about a woman, born to a circus bear keeper in Constantinople, who used her wits and good looks to become the wife of the ruler of the empire. Mr. Martin is the award-winning novelist living in Hollywood, CA.
- 398 pages
- Publisher: Hussar Quill Press
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1734004304
This book should be an example of how to write a description to sell a book. On top of that, Fortune’s Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora by James Conroyd Martin lives up to its expectations as a vivid, well researched historical fiction.
I knew nothing about Empress Theodora , wife of Emperor Justinian I and probably the most powerful woman in Byzantine history, but she sounded very intriguing and like all good history, it’s something that you simply just can’t make up. The story switches between first and third person narratives, between past and present but the author made it all work and I never got lost.
I thought that the storytelling device, Theodora asking Stephen, to write her biography was a smart choice. It allowed the author to include or exclude any information, since Theodora wants to glorify herself and omit any unfavorable events, while Stephen is free to share with the readers his experiences outside of Theodora’s spin or echo chamber.
As someone with an interest in politics, the one thing I thought was missing from the book was the political games she must have played, the author put some in it but he was more interested in telling her story from a human point of interest instead of her intelligence and political acumen . There is another book in the works which will complete the story and I am looking forward to find out more about this interesting historical persona.
The story is told through the eyes of Stephen, a good looking Syrian Eunuch, who befriends Theodora well before she became empress. Theodora asks Stephen to write her biography so her enemies won’t get the last historical word, and so the story begins.
We follow Theodora through childhood, daughter to window trying to make ends meet. Teenage and adulthood where the beautiful woman finds the bug of acting, but does not shy away from prostitution. She ties her fortunes to an upperclassman who has been given a governorship in Africa, but quickly finds out that meddling in affairs of the state will not earn her any friends. Broke and alone Theodora returns to Constantinople to see what the future holds.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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