Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett
The first thing that drew me to this book was that it was set in the Byzantine Empire–a medieval people that considered themselves a continuation of the Roman Empire. Christianity not only was legal but the state religion. The book centers around the historical figure Anna Comnena, the designated heir to the imperial throne and one of few identified women from antiquity who wrote history.
The author successfully transported me to the time period and kept me there during the course of the novel. I really enjoyed the storyline and felt it had an emotionally satisfying ending. Although, part of me feels like it didn’t necessarily match the first part of the story. The author changes many things about the historical timeline to keep the main character young so that her young audience could still relate to her. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m not sure what is the right answer to twisting historical narrative merely to serve very specific audience requirements. Either way, it was a nice, smart, story set in an underappreciated time-period. This author has a particular love of ancient stories also writing On Etruscan Time, King of Ithaca and Dark of the Moon. I’d love to check them out if I ever find the time.