I write about the people who had a lasting influence on the Byzantine world during its middle period, at the height of its wealth and power. Their lives, filled with passion, ambition and strength, are a glimpse into a civilization too often forgotten.
This book begins the story of Anna Dalassena, wife of John Comnenus and mother of the Emperor Alexios I Comnenus. Born at the Empire’s apogee in 1025 to a family of renowned soldiers, she grew up watching her country deteriorate into a morass of greedy, dissolute courtiers and self-serving bureaucrats, while foreign enemies chewed away at its borders without fear of reprisal.
Chief among those sucking the lifeblood from the empire is the husband of her cousin Xene, Constantine Ducas. When Xene dies tragically, Anna blames Ducas for her death, vowing revenge.
Anna and John are pushed into the epicenter of the vicious power struggles and uprisings while dealing with their own tragedies. When rebellion puts her life and those of everyone Anna loves at risk is the reward – a throne for her family – too big a gamble?
For Immediate Release
Literary Classics is pleased to announce that the book, Tales of Byzantium: A Selection of Short Stories, by Eileen Stephenson, has been selected to receive the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. The CLC Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.
Tales of Byzantium: A Selection of Short Stories, by Eileen Stephenson, offers three short stories of war, love and conflict in the Byzantine era. Book one tells of a young girl whose rightful position on the throne is usurped by her father who desires the throne for one of his sons. Helena had been betrothed as an infant to her scholarly husband. It was a marriage in name only until Helena decides she will no longer be overlooked.
Book two concerns a commander of military forces who is sent to save a town about to be under siege. The men under his command are nowhere near sufficient to handle the enemy’s onslaught. Comnenus devises a very creative plan to outsmart the enemy, which allows him and his men to abandon the city (which is now without food and supplies) and travel home safely.
In the third book, Anna Comnena is consigned to a convent (royal speak for imprisoned at a convent). To occupy her mind she documents the history of her beloved father. Her tales remain critical to historians, providing valuable information on Byzantium to this day.
All three stories are told in a pleasant, matter-of-fact manner – likened to how a parent might explain complex history to their child. Horror, death, betrayal and deceit are explained factually. This book offers a unique perspective on a fascinating era. This is the way history lessons should be taught. The stories are based on fact, yet are marvelously complex and enjoyable. Eileen Stephenson regales readers with delightful story telling. Anyone with an interest in ancient history will ravenously devour these tales. With only three short stories, this collection leaves the reader wanting for more.
Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature for young readers, takes great pride in its role to help promote classic literature which appeals to youth while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations. To learn more about Literary Classics, you may visit www.clcawards.org or www.childrensliteraryclassics.com.
Literary Classics review: https://clcreviews.blogspot.com/2016/07/tales-of-byzantium-selection-of-short.html
If you are interested in reading other novels that take place in Byzantium/Constantinople, I can recommend the following:
The Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry
The Strategos Series by Gordon Doherty
Byzantium by Stephen R. Lawhead
I photographed this mosaic at the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, Italy. Galla Placidia was the daughter, sister and mother of three late emperors in the western Roman Empire, the half-sister of two emperors in the eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople, and the wife first of Ataulf, the King of the Goths, and then of Constantius III, a late western Roman emperor. Galla Placidia lived for a time in Constantinople. Her mausoleum is a few steps away from the Church at San Vitale, which was built a few years after her mausoleum and contains the famous mosaics of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and his wife, the Empress Theodora.