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The Prince of Fishes

(A Fairy Tale Retold #2)

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In Constantinople, the Queen of Cities, poverty-stricken Michael the Fisherman and his wife Eudokia dream of a better life for their family. When Michael catches a fish that is able to grant wishes, he and Eudokia finally get their chance to taste the wealth and power of their wildest dreams. But will their ambition destroy the city and cost them everything they hold dear? ...more
Kindle Edition, 106 pages
Published July 31st 2015
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  32 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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Schuyler
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I knew the original fairy tale from watching Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, and felt like I finally had an edge going into this story. :) Suzannah shows a more-than-competent grasp of the setting and time period. I don't know a lot about Byzantium, but as I read, I had no doubt she did. It shone out especially in the warfare scenes, where she named ship parts and weapons like nobody's business, and also in the palace, with the clothing styles and titles of the various men. The Iron Hand and pass ...more
Elisabeth
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I went into this novella unfamiliar with the fairytale on which it is based, "The Fisherman and His Wife" (though the plot did start to ring a bell a little as I went along), and unfamiliar with the Byzantium setting, but nonetheless eager, because at this point I'm excited to read pretty much anything Suzannah Rowntree writes. And I wasn't disappointed. The tale follows Michael, a poor fisherman, who catches a golden flounder that offers to grant him wishes. Urged on by his ambitious wife, Eudo ...more
Kimia Wood
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
When a poor fisherman fishes up a magical fish promising to grant him any wish he desires, he and his wife must decide just what to wish for…and when to stop wishing.

I was familiar with this classic fairy tale, but author Suzannah Rowntree gave it both some eery twists and some captivating background-color.

She sets it in Constantinople, when emperors ruled the city of Holy Wisdom and Muslim invaders were an ever-present shadow. While the presence of a wish-granting flounder is an obvious fantast
...more
Hanna-col
Going into The Prince of Fishes I was unsure what to expect and completely unfamiliar with the fairytale it was retelling. By the time I finished reading I was eager to look up the original fairytale, learn more about Byzantium and the rich history mentioned in the story, and to get ahold of everything else that Suzannah Rowntree has written and published. It has been a while since a story has enthralled and gripped me, transporting me into its world so completely, like The Prince of Fishes.

It
...more
Allison Ruvidich
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
From the first pages, Rowntree paints a gorgeous, vivid portrait of Byzantine life and politics. I cannot fathom the amount of research Rowntree must have done, because she captures it all: the clothes, the architecture, the poverty, the theology. Rowntree has a full, decadent style of writing that brought out the decay and charm of Constantinople and the exotic, brutal politics of the time.

Obviously, the plot follows the original fairytale, The Fisherman and his Wife, but Rowntree takes beautif
...more
C.B. Cook
Mar 09, 2016 marked it as to-read
Eeek! A retelling of one of my favorite Grimms' fairytales? MUST READ. I've never seen a retelling of this story before...
Tony
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the second in a series of novellas by Suzannah Rowntree based on classic fairy tales. Fairy tales have survived through the centuries because they are stories with power. Hollywood knows this, and a number of other fantasy authors have also adapted some of these classic stories. This particular fairy tale retelling is more historical novella than fantasy, being set in the 8th century Byzantine Empire (with bonus points to the author for adding a dash of clockpunk). The city of Constantin ...more
Joshua
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Fishing, theological debate, clockwork, ambition and ancient Byzantium combine for a deluxe retelling of the The Fisherman and His Wife. Suzannah has succeeded in creating a story of great depth and complexity, bringing out subtitles not so apparent in the original.

The writing is imaginative and unique, and the Byzantine setting somehow fits exactly with the fairy story: ambition, greed and envy (not to mention the scheming) are not at all out of place in the Byzantine empire. That's a great bac
...more
Heidi
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was really fun to read this, having just read The Fisherman and His Wife to my kids. Rowntree's retelling preserves the original point about not letting ambition get the better of you, and strengthened the tacit lesson about how things go sideways when husbands and wives fail to live in ordered harmony.

One thing that I really like about this author is the way she uses the setting and characters to introduce the reader to something new, interesting, and worth learning more about. The setting
...more
Sophia Field
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Prince of Fishes retells a fairy tale that was unfamiliar to me. Yet at the same time, it echoed the form and nature of any number of old old stories that seem to come around every so often.

I loved the ambitious setting--a grand and sensory reproduction Constantinople in a tumultous time. I stayed up late, reading in a strange state of hope and despair as the situation worsened time and again. I had to know, and yet I was afraid to. How many bad choices can one choice lead to?!?

Prince of Fis
...more
Raquel Evans
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: turkey, young-adult
A retelling of The Fisherman and his Wife set in the Byzantine Empire. I don't like the original story much, and the retelling made it make a bit more sense, but didn't make it a whole lot more enjoyable for me. The best things about it were the historical setting and the fact that it's completely clean. The only possible concern for having young children read it is you need to be okay with explaining the huge theological debate about icons/images going on through the story. 2 1/2 stars.
Cela Day
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Set in 8th century Byzantium, The Prince of Fishes offers a well-crafted and entertaining glimpse of a fascinating period of history. The Byzantine interest in clockwork mechanisms and automata provides a sort of medieval version of a steampunk vibe (clockpunk). And against this backdrop, everyone from the lowest rung on the social ladder all the way to the top is obsessed with theology, arguing the pros and cons of iconography with all the self-declared authority and enthusiasm of a classroom o ...more
Charles
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval-fiction
There is a serious lacking for any material set during Byzantine times. That this story delves right into the middle of the iconoclast struggles of the 8th century was truly exciting for me. Suzannah Rowntree does an amazing job painting a family life that is contemporary in feeling and true to the setting. Using the familiar plot of Grimm's The Fisherman and His Wife is a masterstroke because the simple, fairy-tale story allows us to move rapidly through all the different points of view on the ...more
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Hi! I live in a big house in rural Australia with my awesome parents and siblings, writing historical fantasy fiction. You can visit me online at https://suzannahrowntree.site

If you like the mythic fantasy of Stephen Lawhead, S. A. Chakraborty or Naomi Novik, you'll probably like my stories too!

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Other books in the series

A Fairy Tale Retold (6 books)
  • The Rakshasa's Bride
  • The Bells of Paradise
  • Death Be Not Proud
  • Ten Thousand Thorns (A Fairy Tale Retold, #5)
  • The City Beyond the Glass