Fortune's Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora



Fortune's Child: A Novel of Empress TheodoraKIRKUS 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 Theodora Asks Stephen To Write Her Biography From A Very Young Age, Theodora, Daughter Of A Circus Bearkeeper In Constantinople, Sets Her Sights Well Above Her Station In Life Her Exquisite Beauty Sets Her Apart On Stages And In The Eyes Of MenStephen, A Syrian Lad Of Striking Good Looks, Is Sold By His Parents To A Persian Wizard, Who Teaches Him A Skill In Languages That Will Serve Him WellBy The Time Destiny Brings Them Together In Antioch, Theodora Has Undergone Heart Rending Trials And A Transformation, While Stephen Has Been Sold Again And CastratedDiscover The Enduring Bond That, However Imperfect, Prompts Theodora As Empress To Request Palace Eunuch Stephen To Write Her Biography A Historical Novel Set In Sixth Century Constantinople Charts The Extraordinary Ascent Of A Woman From Poverty To Royal Power In This Ambitious Novel, The Author Vividly Brings To Life The Cinematic Story Of Theodora S Life, Chronicling Her Rise, Halting Than Meteoric, To Spectacular Power Martin S Command Of The Historical Period Not Just The Chief Political Events, But Also The Nuances Of Its Cultural S Is Masterful Further, He Conjoins That Scholarly Rigor With Novelistic Excitement The Entire Tale Is Intelligently Conveyed With Great Emotional Poignancy This Is A Meticulously Researched Historical Account Presented In The Form Of A Thrilling Political Drama KIRKUS REVIEWSMartin Not Only Unfurls The Vast Canvas Of History, But He Paints The Deeply Personal Side Of The Men And Women Who Lived It His Settings And Characters Come To Life In Meticulously Researched Detail I Felt Like I Was There Lisa Wingate, New York Times Bestselling Author Of Before We Were YoursA Treasure For Historical Fiction Fans Richly Detailed, Immersive, And Heart Pounding Martin Paints A Vivid And Satisfying Portrait Of One Of History S Most Remarkable Women Olivia Hawker, Bestselling Author Of The Ragged Edge Of Night

Ah, Fate 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 about Little did he know what he had unloosed.What a fascinating woman, frailties and all She could have been the prototype for Eva Peron I started the novel right then and there however, life and other books got in the way.But Fortune s Child has finally found her way.Fate goes ever as it must.I am also the author of THE POLAND TRILOGY, beginning with Push Not the River, a novel based on the diary of Anna Berezowska, a Polish countess who lived through the rise and fall of the Third of May Constitution After working on the project for some years without raising interest within the publishing community, I self published in 2001 Just one year later, St Martin s Press purchased the book and released a hard cover edition in September 2003 Polish and German rights sold almost immediately The Polish edition, Nie ponaglaj rzeki, was released in May of 2005, became a bestseller and sold out in a matter of months Anna s story had come full circle Polish to English to Polish Pod purpurowym niebem, the translation of Against a Crimson Sky, also became a bestseller when published in December of 2007 The Warsaw Conspiracy followed, as did The Boy Who Wanted Wings Martin, who holds degrees from St Ambrose and DePaul Universities, is a retired English and Creative Writing teacher now living and writing in Portland, Oregon.

[[ Reading ]] ➿ Fortune's Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora Author James Conroyd Martin – Heartforum.co.uk
  • Kindle Edition
  • 400 pages
  • Fortune's Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora
  • James Conroyd Martin
  • 10 February 2018

10 thoughts on “Fortune's Child: A Novel of Empress Theodora

  1. Gina says:

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I thank the author and publisher.This book drew me in, spun me around a thousand different ways, and when it finally spit me out I was hungry forMuch, much .Well written and obviously meticulously researched, the story has a number of characters, the main one being Theodora obviously , beginning with her childhood in 6th century Constantinople, one of three sisters, all of whom play a role in this book.Born into poverty, this is the story o I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I thank the author and publisher.This book drew me in, spun me around a thousand different ways, and when it finally spit me out I was hungry forMuch, much .Well written and obviously meticulously researched, the story has a number of characters, the main one being Theodora obviously , beginning with her childhood in 6th century Constantinople, one of three sisters, all of whom play a role in this book.Born into poverty, this is the story of how Theodora pulled herself out and rose not always gracefully and certainly not quickly to become royalty.This novel is so well written, you will see the sights, smell the smells not always pleasant for sure , and feel you are walking the streets with Theodora, not to mention watching from the seats when she performs on stage Another main character is a Syrian child, astonishingly beautiful, who grows into manhood Fate keeps throwing him into Theodora s path even though that path is winding and not always on the same continent.The book will grab your heart and never let go I highly recommend it There is a second novel and I cannot wait to find and read that one too

  2. Annette says:

    Constantinople, 547 Theodora is 47 and she has a cancer She asks once her confidante and eunuch Stephen to write her biography Thus the story goes back in time revealing her humbling beginnings and her rise to power as one of the most powerful woman in Byzantine history.At the age of five, she loses her father and at ten, her mother puts her to work as an actress She succeeds in a way that she has her freedom which she treasures But she longs for something , to travel, to see other peo Constantinople, 547 Theodora is 47 and she has a cancer She asks once her confidante and eunuch Stephen to write her biography Thus the story goes back in time revealing her humbling beginnings and her rise to power as one of the most powerful woman in Byzantine history.At the age of five, she loses her father and at ten, her mother puts her to work as an actress She succeeds in a way that she has her freedom which she treasures But she longs for something , to travel, to see other peoples, other ways of life The next stage in her life takes her to dancing, which also gives her a chance to travel The story begins fairly interesting, but then it becomes descriptive making the pace pretty slow

  3. Svetlana Tishchenko says:

    I picked this book because of Theodora, of the woman who raised from slums to become the Empress The woman who is famous for saying the best shroud is royal blue fascinated me for quite some time.Yes, this book is the work of fiction But this story does give a body to the image on the old pictures.Fortune s Child is the story of two people They both raised themselves from nothing to influence, each to their own Theodora was a prostitute and a dancer and became Empress Stephen was a poor b I picked this book because of Theodora, of the woman who raised from slums to become the Empress The woman who is famous for saying the best shroud is royal blue fascinated me for quite some time.Yes, this book is the work of fiction But this story does give a body to the image on the old pictures.Fortune s Child is the story of two people They both raised themselves from nothing to influence, each to their own Theodora was a prostitute and a dancer and became Empress Stephen was a poor boy and became her biographer.Biographer Reading this book I became aware, once again, how cruel human objectivity can be There is no objectivity where feelings come into play, be it love or hatred.The book is the story of Stephen writing Theodora s biography They both recollect their lives up to Theodora becoming Empress Theodora tells her story But will Stephen write word for word or would his story be a sort of payback to the powerful royal Author provides reader with intricate details of Roman Empire s life, from clothes to travel, food to social hierarchy, especially where women or poor born are concerned Reader is not made or led to love or to hate any characters Reader is invited to observe and wait for the outcome I believe this is a writer s job amazingly well done

  4. Warren Bull says:

    Empress Theodora had one of the most remarkable rises in history Daughter of a careless bear keeper, actress, mistress, and ultimately an empress who saved an empire by herself, the first of two novels brings to life a fascination woman and the historian who recorded her life 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 f Empress Theodora had one of the most remarkable rises in history Daughter of a careless bear keeper, actress, mistress, and ultimately an empress who saved an empire by herself, the first of two novels brings to life a fascination woman and the historian who recorded her life 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 failed greatly But she never gave up This is a remarkable book that I give my highest recommendation

  5. Eileen Iciek says:

    The author provided me with an Advance Reader s Copy in exchange for an honest review.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 interes The author provided me with an Advance Reader s Copy in exchange for an honest review.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 interesting was the inclusion of the historian, Procopios, who wrote a scandalous Secret History about Theodora alleging all sorts of nefarious, witch like activities on her part The author portrayed him as a bitter, social climbing bureaucrat, angry at seeing a woman rise from the lowest rungs of society to its very pinnacle This wonderful novel is the first of two novels about Theodora and ends not long after Justinian comes to the throne I can t wait to see the next volume that will cover years of wars, rebellions and riots, the building of the magnificent Hagia Sophia, and the Justinianic plague There are many things one can say about Theodora, but boring is not one of them

  6. Munch says:

    I was sent this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.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 cou I was sent this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.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 could have gotabout Stephen s past since I found his character and experiences as a apprentice interesting and wanteddetail while I found some of Theodora s a bit too lengthy, at least the actress parts, I gotinterested when she moved on from that and got intoexciting situations and how she meet Stephen onto becoming Empress I would have likeddetail with that, it seemed to taketime on the duller parts of her life and less on the political manoeuvring with her enemies, though this should hopefully featurein the next book of the duology

  7. Christine Cazeneuve says:

    Loved itKept me interested from start to finish I knew nothing about this woman but she was amazingly strong, intelligent and ambitious I liked that it told two stories and was a constant page turner I can t wait for the next book.

  8. Helen Hollick says:

    This a very cleverly composed book Right from the start the reader is gripped by the style of writing DDRevs Historical Fiction Reviews Founder, Helen Hollick

  9. Mercedes Rochelle says:

    Here s something different We have the story of Empress Theodora from her childhood to her coronation The twist is that she is telling this story to the very person she had imprisoned for five years for no apparent reason and just as suddenly released so he can record the history of her life Why To set the record straight, because she feared that her powerful enemy in court, Procopius, would blacken her name after her death It turns out that the man she imprisoned our narrator was her frien Here s something different We have the story of Empress Theodora from her childhood to her coronation The twist is that she is telling this story to the very person she had imprisoned for five years for no apparent reason and just as suddenly released so he can record the history of her life Why To set the record straight, because she feared that her powerful enemy in court, Procopius, would blacken her name after her death It turns out that the man she imprisoned our narrator was her friend during the days she was a lonely and rejected courtesan and worse, an ex actress He loved her from the day he met her, and was indirectly responsible for her meeting Justinian, who was heir to the throne at the time But sadly, our narrator Stephen, whose parents sold him into slavery, was a eunuch So his infatuation would never bethan that Nonetheless, he was entangled in her rise to power What about that miserable alley east of the Hippodrome says Procopius My heart catches What do you mean Don t play coy, whoremonger, he growls What I feel the blood coming into my face You took him there to the shack of that reformed actress Of course, she s not reformed at all, is she Who Theodora You led him right to her, didn t you You procured her, yes Did he pay you well Or perhaps she did, eh Is she still paying Theodora s story is interspersed with the memoirs of our narrator, chapter by chapter Because they both came from poverty, it would have been easy to mix them up but the author saved me from this confusion by writing Stephen s tale in first person, and Theodora s memoir in third person Although I knew she must have been despicable because she threw her friend into prison, I found her story sympathetic despite myself Three quarters of the way through the book, it dawned on me that there was too much story remaining for just one volume, and so it turned out There sto come we ll just have to wait

  10. Paul says:

    Excellent It s engaging and compelling, and takes you there Obviously well researched, it includes good detail and readers will come away with a story that will stick with them for a while Recommended.I really appreciate the review copy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *