Tales of Byzantium by Eileen Stephenson
**HFVBT Tour Stop**
This was such a lovely collection of stories (vignettes I think I will call them) of the Byzantine nobility at a particular moment in time. As a lover of Byzantine history, having been introduced to it in my early 20s, I was very excited to see another fictional engagement with this space and time, so often neglected in North American education. As a lover of everything medieval, I was doubly so.
The collection is made up of three stories, the first surrounding imperial intrigue and marriage, the second centred on military concerns, and the third looks at the fate of an exiled princess. The stories and personages were well-researched and there were none of the glaring anachronisms that often disrupt tales from a less well-known era. The writing was good, and the pacing and length of each story were perfect. However, the plots and characters were a little weak. In the first and third stories particularly, very little actually happens, though the historical material is ripe with potential. It felt, at times, as if the historicity was suffocating the narrative, and, like a commitment to fictionalizing the ‘truth’ of who these people were, hampered character development and they ended up feeling quite one-dimensional.
That said, this is a short and interesting read, illuminating, or perhaps spotlighting, an often misunderstood time and place in history.
**More on the book, author, tour and, best yet, a Giveaway below**
Publication Date: May 2, 2015
Paperback & eBook; 152 Pages
A young empress defies her powerful father for love and her rightful place on the throne.
A charismatic commander takes the gamble of a lifetime to save the lives of thousands of innocents.
An exiled princess finds a new sense of purpose and creates a legacy that will stand through the ages.
These stories provide a glimpse of the dynamic and proud Byzantines who lived during the height of the empire’s splendor.
“Through elegantly described details, sharply observed characters, and especially crisp, modern-sounding dialogue, Stephenson takes these vignettes from the thousand years of Byzantine history, mixes them liberally with such excellent modern narrative histories as John Julius Norwich’s A Short History of Byzantium, and manages to create three very intriguing windows into a part of history largely unknown to many readers.” – Anne McNulty, Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
Eileen Stephenson was born in Fort Worth, Texas but spent most of her life in the Washington, DC area. She has degrees from both Georgetown University and George Washington University (neither involving the Byzantines) and is married with three daughters. Her interest in Byzantine history all started one fateful day when every other book in the library looked boring except for John Julius Norwich’s A Short History of Byzantium.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, December 15
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, December 16
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Sunday, December 20
Review at Seize the Words: Books in Review
To win a Paperback copy of Tales of Byzantium by Eileen Stephenson please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM link below.
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