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Anna of Byzantium

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,759 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
For fans of Joan of Arc and Alexander the Great, comes "a gripping saga of alliances, intrigues, deceits, and treacheries" about Anna Comnena of the Byzantine Empire.

Anna Comnena has every reason to feel entitled. She's a princess, her father's firstborn and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine Empire. So the birth of
Paperback, 211 pages
Published October 2000 by Laurel-Leaf Books (first published May 11th 1999)
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Aug 12, 2008 booklady rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history lovers
Recommended to booklady by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer Hartman
I've always been fascinated with the Crusades. Seven years ago when I did my own mini-study of them I remember running across the name Anna Comnena as a frequently quoted eleventh century Byzantine historian. Although I never completed that study due to homeschooling requirements, I also never forgot about Anna and always wanted to learn more about her.

This young adult novel is a fictionalized version of Anna's early life at court in the last days of her father, Alexius I Comnenus. Anna adored
Small Review
Engaging. It was nice to read about a person and period that are less popular. Full review to come.

Originally posted on Small Review

Yikes, Anna! Talk about your family drama. Backstabbing, coups, attempted coups—Anna's family doesn't play around.

Anna is a strong, confident character who is easy to root for (but would probably make an awful sleepover party friend). She reminded me of Isabella in her steadfast determination and "take no prisoners" attitude. This is a good thing and I definitely r
Jul 06, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Genre: Biography

Award: Garden State Teen Book Award (NOMINATED FOR AN AWARD) 2002; Volunteer State Book Award (NOMINATED FOR AN AWARD) 2002

Star Rating: Four Stars

Grade Level: 7-12th grade
Although the vocabulary is relatively simple, the themes of pride, vanity and revenge can reverberate with any age group. The pleasure of reading this short and concise narrative of the life of Princess Anna Comnena is truly to see that there were not exclusively male authors and scholars during the medieval pe
Shannan Schoemaker
Sep 28, 2016 Shannan Schoemaker rated it really liked it
Anna of Byzantium - takes the reader on a journey to the court of the Byzantine Empire through the first person female perspective of the heir to the Byzantine throne, Anna Commena, from age four to eighteen. Written by Traci Barrett a typically nonfiction history writer, the court life of the Byzantine Empire comes to life in her first historical fiction novel. Barrett leads the reader through this coming of age tale of the young Anna as she is groomed for the throne by two contrasting ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Natalia rated it really liked it
Anna of Byzantium transports the reader back to the time of the Byzantine empire through the perspective of the young heir to the throne, Anna Comnena. This book offers an intimate look at the inner workings of the royal family, including all the politics and work required by just being a royal. Anna of Byzantium was written by Tracy Barrett and was first published in 1998. It was her first novel and was received well. Barrett leads the reader through young Anna’s life as she is prepared for her ...more
Jul 31, 2014 J. rated it liked it
I admit, I had never heard of this book before. The cover isn't particularly flashy--neither is the title, nor the jacket copy. Considering all this, it feels like a minor miracle that I read this book at all. I saw it on a library shelf and had been wanting to read more historical YA, and I don't know a lot about the Byzantine Empire besides the survey look from World History and AP Euro, so I wanted to give it a try. I thought I might give up on it early on.

To my surprise, it's a lot more enga
Jul 19, 2009 Jess rated it liked it
This story succeeds in bringing to life the court of the Byzantine emperor in the 11th century - a setting that I don't think I've encountered before, particularly in a children's book. You get the sense that Barrett knows her history well, and she's chosen a character and period that seem rich and fascinating. Instead of playing Anna as a sympathetic every-girl, Barrett shows her as someone truly born to the purple, taught to rule from an early and keenly aware of what is her due. While this ...more
Apr 13, 2009 Shannon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Medieval Treasures Visitors
Shelves: youngadult
Every now and then, a book falls into your hands at just the right time. Last week, I went to a Medieval Treasures exhibit at the Frist Center and yesterday I read Anna of Byzantium. The temporal setting is not exactly the same: Anna's Byzantium is 1083, a few hundred years before most of the art I enjoyed. But this book, written during a time when literacy was a gift, not a given, made me think about many of the same issues I pondered as I looked at illuminated manuscripts in glass cases.

Anna i
Jul 24, 2011 Tori added it
2003- The subject matter of this book makes it interesting: a look at the life of Anna Comnena, who was supposed to become empress. However, some problems abound in this book. First, the beginning of the book lets us know what happens at the end. Secondly, Anna is not a very likable person in the book, so many times, I found it hard to feel bad for her. Lastly, I felt the author could have expanded on details. Except for the strong personalities of Anna's grandmother and her teacher, Simon, many ...more
Part of the back/Partly mine:

Anna Comeni is a princess, her father's first born and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine empire. The birth of a baby brother doesn't perturb her. Nor do the 'barbarians' from foreign lands, who think only a son should ascend to power. Anna is as dismissive of them as are her father and his most trusted advisor-his mother, Anna Dalassena, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna rel
Jan 14, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Reading for CC1 wk11 and 12..krb 1/5/16

We all loved reading this historical fiction and had great discussions about the characters. Mom cried at the end of course..krb 1/14/16
Emma Filbrun
Dec 03, 2016 Emma Filbrun rated it liked it
I don’t believe I have ever found another book set in the Byzantine Empire. Because we are studying that era of history right now, I decided to read Anna of Byzantium to my sons. They enjoyed the suspense, but I can’t say it was a favorite of ours.

Read my full review here.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Well after two DNF's in a row, it's about darn time I liked and finished a book.

Lada could take a few tips from Anna as well.

Review coming soon!!!
Dec 06, 2016 C.M.L. rated it it was amazing
Daniel Beaudrie
Sep 27, 2014 Daniel Beaudrie rated it it was amazing
Anna is a princess of Byzantium, and the heir to the throne. She loves to study and is taught about history and math by Simon, a slave and good friend. When Anna is five she is called to a delegation so her father can present his children to the forge in ambassadors gathered there and learns that she has a new baby brother. When Anna is seven father leaves on a campaign against the Turks and while he is gone Anna begins to learn statecraft from her grandmother, her fathers mother. The longer ...more
Peter Klessens
Dec 09, 2014 Peter Klessens rated it it was amazing
Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett is about Anna Comnena her fathers first born, and his chosen successor to one day rule the Byzantium empire. The unexpected birth of her brother John doesn't make her anxious or unsettled. The "barbarians" from foreign lands who think only a son should ascend to power don't make her anxious or unsettled either. Anna is dismissive of them and so is her father and his trusted advisor, Anna's grandmother. The grandmother is a manipulative woman who uses Anna to ...more
Haley Egger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jules Novakovich
In the book Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett Anna Comnenus is a young girl that has the heir to her father’s throne who is the emperor of Byzantium. She is supposed to marry a man named Constantine Ducas so the Ducas and Comnenus family can come together. She has a younger sister named Maria and eventually a younger brother named John. Anna’s grandma tries to tell Anna’s father how to run the empire and Anna’s mother and grandmother don’t get along. Anna’s grandmother begins teaching Anna ...more
Erika Larsen
Feb 27, 2015 Erika Larsen rated it really liked it
Anna Of Byzantium

Summary: Anna Commena was to rule after her father. Considering Anna was his favorite child and the first born. Her tutor was her grandmother. Both "sides" of her grandmother had a different outlook on Anna. Her grandmother taught her unsportsmanlike ways to rule and treat people and Anna's mother was not pleased. Her grandmother heard that Anna had tried to kill her younger brother, John, which was Anna's grandmothers revenge. Anna thought it was because her grandmother did not
Sep 13, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, though my experience was soiled somewhat by the synopsis on the back—which gives everything away and makes you think the book is going to be completely different than it is. But I can’t really hold the author to blame for that, as I know the author almost never has control over such blurbs.

But, I think the book is somewhat at fault as well. The book starts in the present at a nunnery, and then the rest of the book backs up and tells the events leading up to Anna’s sta
Dec 16, 2013 Joan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans, women rights interests.
I read this when it was first published but just acquired a discarded ppb copy and reread it today. It is a fast read. The author has managed the unusual trick of making a thoroughly unlikable character one you sympathize with and root for. Anna may have been born to the purple but she didn't get many breaks in life. She had been heir to the throne until an unwise remark got her little brother promoted to the position instead. When her father died, she and her mother, who mostly seemed somewhat ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Anna Comnena is living her worst nightmare born with a silver spoon in her mouth she has been brought up in a world of great privilege and at one point a commoner even turning their back on her could have meant their death. Now the reader meets the young princess for the first time in the scriptorium of a nunnery in the mountains of the Byzantine empire, where she has been degraded to the point of trying to match wits with a graying old nun who likes to try to put the young upstart princess in ...more
Samantha Jackson
Oct 31, 2014 Samantha Jackson rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 10, 2014 Cody added it
The characterization was great, and I love how Anna wasn't just a walking set of clichés. However, some details could have been expanded upon. She could have described the convent better. She could have described in more details as of why Anna wanted to kill her brother, other than the fact than she wanted to be on the throne.

Most of this novel is very historically accurate with this time period. I mean, it's not like they're carrying cell phones or anything. However, she could have made the di
Mar 27, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable, quite readable fictional retelling of the biography of Anna Comnena, Byzantine princess and very famous woman historian, known for The Alexiad of Anna Comnena, telling of the deeds of her father, the Byzantine emperor, Alexius I, Comnenus. the language was very simple in this novel written for young people; I learned much about the princess and imperial life of that period. I sometimes find biographies written for adults dry and boring.

The story takes us through Anna's lif
Kannen Shirley
Oct 19, 2015 Kannen Shirley rated it really liked it
The novel “Anna of Byzantium”, written by Tracy Barrett, is about a princess called Anna Comnena. Anna is the first born of her father’s children and his chosen successor. Anna’s brother, John, was born when Anna was six years old. Her grandmother feared that if Anna were to take the thrown she would want to run the empire herself and would take no guidance form her. Therefore, causing the grandmother to do everything in her power to have Anna’s throne revoked and given to John. When Anna’s ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Macey added it
The book, Anna of Byzantium is about a princess named Anna Comnena. She was the hair and was to take over the throne to be empress of the Byzantium Empire. When along came her younger brother, John. John was the most disrespectful child ever to be presented. Eventually Anna made some mistakes that went against John. It is a very serious situation when harm or threats is put against a royal person. This then lead to her being taken off the position of hair. John was then chosen to take the spot. ...more
Rebecca Radnor
1096 AD, first female historian. Trained to be Emperor till a brother was born, she's thrown into a convent for trying to kill him. This is where she writes her history of her father the man who launched the first crusade, the Alexiad, the first history book ever written by a woman. The book basically paints him as really horrible kid worthy of Anna's attempt to kill him. Ironically, Her brother is remembered as John the beautiful because he was considered a really good emperor. The final ...more
3.5 stars for this nice quick read, recommended to those fans of historical fiction who want to read a story set in a different age and different region than most books.
Anyone checking the Wikipedia page on Anna Comnena, daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium and the first female history writer known to us, will find that this novel does not stick to the facts, and alters and leaves out quite some parts. The author admits this in her notes at the back of the book, which I appreciate
Oct 18, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it
This would be shelved with Alisa Libby's Blood Confession under 'counterintuitive subject matter for young adult historical fiction'. Certainly the theme of the older, more capable female child being passed over in favor of the younger, less capable male one is no surprise, but the denouement of the plot is unusual for the subgenre to which it belongs, and I do wonder why Tracy Barrett thought Anna Commena's Machiavellian ambition and thouroughly messed up psyche made her a likely heroine for a ...more
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I was born in 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up mostly in New York state. I went to college in New England and graduate school in California.

The first book I ever read by myself was called Little Bobo and His Blue Jacket. I still have it. I learned to read when I was three, but I know now that this doesn't mean much. My brother didn't really read until he was seven, and now he reads more and re
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