Fortune's Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora
KIRKUS REVIEWS:"A meticulously researched historical account presented in the form of a thrilling political drama."
Theodora: actress, prostitute, mistress, feminist. And Byzantine Empress of the civilized world. Stephen: handsome Syrian boy, wizard's apprentice, palace eunuch. And Secretary to the Empress. How does this unlikely pair become such allies that one day Empress...more
The author transported me to sixth century Constantinople complete with sounds and smells. Head-strong, beautiful, and sometimes reckless, Theodora refused to accept the role fate offered. She dared greatly and at times ...more
I've read several novels about Theodora and her husband, the Emperor Justinian, and enjoyed them all. However, this one has to be the best of them all! The author's attention to historical detail and the historical record was excellent. Theodora's portrayal was sympathetic but realistic, her exceptional story - from actress, to courtesan, to empress - being told by the Great Palace eunuch, Stephen. Most ...more
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.
The story is told through the eyes of Stephen, a good looking Syrian Eunuch, who befriends Theodora well before she became ...more
I really appreciate the review copy!!
I can't decide whether I want to give this a 3.5 or a 4 star rating. I knew next to nothing about Theodora before reading this book so I was really intrigued when I read the description of this book. It's really well written and researched, I liked how the story was told in both first and third person. The swaps between Theodora and Stephen's stories and between the past and the present was well done. However I kind of wish we ...more
This riveting woman is brought to life in the story “told” by Stephan, the eunuch scribe whose life intertwines her own. It’s a rich tapestry, meticulously researched, and colorfully written. I wanted more of Stephan, and occasionally Theodora seemed two-dimensional in contrast, but it’s a very enjoyable read, and I look forward to the sequel.
“But to take revenge on a dying woman—an empress forged in steel, nonetheless—would demand cold determination and a cunning mind. I vow to meet the challenge.”
For five long years, Stephen has suffered the indignity and inhumanity of a cold, damp prison cell. When they come for him, he fears the worst. But instead of death, he is given an audience with the woman who had sealed his fate all those years ago.
How can Empress Theodora ask this of him? After everything, she has done. And yet, Stephen ...more
The tale of Theodora, the beautiful dark-haired middle daughter of a bearkeeper, begins in the shadow of Constantinople’s Hippodrome arena, plays out on various stages as an actress, and concludes atop a throne, following her improbable rise to become empress of the eastern Roman Empire as consort to Justinian I. Dying of cancer at 47, she liberates ...more
Woven into the history of Theodora's early life is her fictionalized friendship with ...more
The seed for "Fortune's Child" started some years ago when I was taking an Art Appreciation course at a community college in Los Angeles. One day we were studying the exquisite mosaics of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora from the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy, and the professor pointed to Theodora and said, “I’m not a writer, but if I were, that is the woman I would write ...more