The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora [NOOK Book]

Overview

Where Theodora went, trouble followed?.



In sixth-century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds and rose from common theater tart to empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman ...
See more details below
The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

Where Theodora went, trouble followed….



In sixth-century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds and rose from common theater tart to empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. The woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told….



After her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation and a life on the streets. Determined to survive, Theodora makes a living any way she can—first on her back with every man who will have her, then on the stage in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a backdoor entry into the halls of power, she seizes the chance to win a wealthy protector—only to face heartbreak and betrayal.



Ever resilient, Theodora rises above such trials and, by a twist of fate, meets her most passionate admirer yet: the emperor’s nephew. She thrives as his confidant and courtesan, but many challenges lie ahead. For one day this man will hand her a crown. And all the empire will wonder—is she bold enough, shrewd enough, and strong enough to keep it?



READERS GUIDE INCLUDED
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this historical fiction debut set in 520 CE, Thornton offers both a fascinating interpretation of a powerful woman’s life and an enlightening portrayal of the great city known at various times as Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul. Basing her tale in sound historical research, Thornton vividly re-creates the streets of Constantinople after Emperor Constantine established the city as the home of the Christian empire. The story follows the life of Theodora, a young beauty with a bright wit, charm, and a tendency to speak her mind who rises from destitution to become, first, a prostitute, then a celebrated actress, and, finally, the Roman empress. Theodora confronts sexual predators, scheming politicians, and dangerous family secrets and overcomes daunting circumstances, among them giving birth in a slime-filled alley at the age of 15. Her religious belief and emotional strength see her through the trying times in her marriage to Justinian and their rule of the Byzantine Empire. While the novel does not shy away from pain, it is most importantly a story of the strength of women. Theodora crosses paths with numerous strong women; they help her when she is destitute and challenge her at the height of her power.

Verdict While Empress Theodora’s story unfolds in what is today modern Turkey, one could borrow from the cowboy vernacular and say that Thornton’s well-conceived and engrossing tale exalts a historical figure of “true grit.” Fans of Stella Duffy’s The Purple Shroud and Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore may want to check out Thornton’s take.—Edith Lawraine Smith, San Francisco
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101607664
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 57,021
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Theodora¿s father was a bear trainer and her mother was a dancer

    Theodora’s father was a bear trainer and her mother was a dancer and actress. They had three daughters. Although the family was far from being wealthy, neither were they poor. That is, until Theordora’s father died and they soon found themselves destitute and homeless. Desperate, their mother dressed up her daughters and paraded them into the hippodrome n wearing garlands into the hippodrome and petitioned for them to be accepted into the elite Blue faction, a powerful political group of the time. 
    Still a child, Theodora aspired to be like her older sister, a prostitute, and her mother, an actress. Theodora found work as a prostitute in a grimy, brothel that serviced men of lower rank and wealth. She also performed as an actress, portraying indecent acts on stage and sex for payment off stage. Guided by a new friend named Antonina, Theodora’s exceptional wiliness and ability to perform unusual sexy acts, soon earned her fame and wealth. 
    She soon came under the attention of a Syrian man named Hecebolus who took her with him to Libya. He treated her badly, and abandoned her with nothing but the clothes on her back. Ever resilient, she slowly goes from country to country until she finds herself back home in Constantinople where she gave up her former life as a prostitute to become a wool spinner in a house near the palace. Very beautiful, smart, and cunning, she soon came to the attention of Justinian, the heir of the emperor. Ultimately, they married and she ruled by his side.
    The story of Theodora is one of history’s most fascinating rags-to-riches story and it comes alive by Stephanie Thornton’s pen! The author does an exceptional job at portraying the Byzantine empire with all its political machinations, opulence, and underworld horrors. It is never easy writing about a ruthless woman from the dregs of society who rises to the highest levels, for to do so she will need to have her faults as well as her assets correctly portrayed. The author did a marvelous job at writing the good and the bad about Theodora’s personality and actions without creating a bias. Theodora comes across as credible and real, completely absorbing and insightful. A truly wonderful biographical novel!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Wow! What an entertaining saga! Author Thornton has a real gif

    Wow! What an entertaining saga! Author Thornton has a real gift for storytelling. Yo Showtime! Are you paying attention here? Hey agents for Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis and Kristin Stewart! Do your clients know about this potential star turn? Perhaps you should tell them about it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Fascinating story!

    This book was such a page turner. I would highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Couldn't put it down!

    This book is definitely a heart-racing page-turner! The history, the settings, the emotions of characters long since gone are brought to life in vivid detail. I bought this book after I'd been reading Kate Quinn's Daughter's of Rome and such, and I'm glad I did. I recommend it to anyone and everyone!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This portrayal of Empress Theodora focuses mainly on her rise to

    This portrayal of Empress Theodora focuses mainly on her rise to power, and a
    gritty, sexually rough girlhood.  I liked the enemy-turned-friend relationship with
    Antonina, even if I wanted a little more explanation as to WHY Antonina's
    attitude shifted. There was something of a Sophie's Choice situation regarding
    her two children (history only records her having one) which gives her
    motivation for both secret-keeping and seeking a way to reveal her secret to
    Justinian.

    This Theodora is always riding the knife's edge of survival, even when
    theoretically secure as Empress, always dependent in some manner on
    pleasing a man. Which WAS the name of the game for almost every woman of
    that time. So even thought I already knew the ending, the sense of tension was
    high throughout the book.

    Time is the one thing I didn't like in this book; its passage was choppy and not
    always clear. I really liked the notes at the end where the author gave lists
    additional fictional and non-fictional reading, and talked about what historical
    facts she'd changed (age when Theodora began performing, among other
    things) and why. Overall, an interesting take on  a fascinating historical person.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a very interesting read, as well as entertaining.  It is

    This is a very interesting read, as well as entertaining.  It is, of course, inspired by the Secret History written by Procopius in the 6th century, and tries to turn the contents of that book into a historical novel for the modern time.  If you think this novel is good, read the original just for comparison.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Good historical novel

    I really enjoyed this book. I could easily envision the author's description of those times.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)