Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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A witty, moving, sexy novel that bursts with as much colour and excitement as the city of Constantinople itself ... a joyous and energetic read (Financial Times)
Theodora is exquisitely summoned by Duffy ... a story rich in colour, texture and taste, told in a fleet-footed narrative (Daily Telegraph)
A splendid subject, traced with energy and much juicy detail (Sunday Times)
* A brilliant new novel from the author of Singling out the Couples, State of Happiness and Parallel LiesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However do not let first impressions fool you as Theodora is determined, I want to say gutsy but it's a bit of a cliché, and what she lacks in some talents she makes up with more, her mind and her body tend to win people over though not necessarily in that order. We follow her journey from the dark underbelly of Constantinople and its prostitution, through the theatre and onwards (I don't want to give too much away) as she breaks the mould to become the woman no one would believe she could. There is a twist in the middle as she follows her heart rather than her head and exposes another side to her we have not seen before, you like her more.
The book isn't just about Theodora though and there are a few characters that deserve there own mention too because characters are something that Stella Duffy does exceptionally well. There is the tough loving teacher and eunuch Menander, the butter wouldn't melt (though watch out) Chrysomallo, the dashing Hecebolus and the delightfully wicked Euphemia.Read more ›
Theodora comes to life far more in Robert Graves' old novel Count Belisarius (Penguin Classics) and in the main extant source Procopius' The Secret History (Penguin Classics).
I really wanted to enjoy this book and was looking forward to a modern and female reinterpretation of a figure who might have been mis-represented by hostile chroniclers, but sadly this book managed, for me, to both dilute the wayward, transgressive Theodora of Procopius and yet not substitute anything more lifelike in its stead - very definately a missed opportunity.
So those are the main reasons I don't like historical fiction. Now let me completely contradict myself by telling you that I absolutely loved this book about Theodora, Empress of the (Byzantine) Roman Empire. I'm not going to tell you about the book itself but about what it is that I loved about it. When I'm reading a great book, there always comes a point when I know that it's a choice between put it down now or read until you finish it. I reached that point around 1:00 a.m. and knew I should go to bed and wasn't disillusioning myself by thinking I'd read just a few more pages.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed, have now purchased the follow on Purple Shroud. A little flat in places and could be more descriptive action but once you get to know Theodora better it is... Read morePublished 9 months ago by sarah
Excellent, I can't wait for this to be made into a TV series. Highly recommend it and loved the second book too. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Joanne Ralphs
Somewhere between a 2.5 and a 3 *
A very light read, chronicling the life of Empress Theodora of Byzantine, from her childhood as an actress/ dancer, soon propelled into... Read more
Highly recommend this book. Very entertaining, enlightening and beautifully written. I look forward to reading the sequel which shall be my next purchase.Published on 17 Jun. 2014 by Angie Walker
although a novel it appears to cover the historic facts accurately and gives an insight into the lives and times of a very interesting characterPublished on 1 April 2014 by jean ogden
My ex thought this was fab. She's a big fan of Stella and has ready all of her many booksPublished on 5 Nov. 2013 by MACS
Fascinating read. Like all novels of this type, the historical accuracy may be questionable, although clearly all the dates and personalities are in place, but no-one can ever... Read morePublished on 13 Aug. 2013 by Desdemona
I should have read the small print ... it's not a biography .... it's a novel ! Had I realised I would not have bought it.Published on 5 July 2013 by Chris
I've just read this for my book group. It isn't historical enough for me to be historical fiction, not sexy enough to be erotic fiction and like a lot of bad comedians used... Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2013 by Gargyath