Theodora spun in graceful circles. She seemed to light up the room, as if all the lamplight were concentrated on her body. Justinian felt dizzy as he watched from the rear. Some strange sensation was turning cartwheels in his chest. The drummers intensified the beat; the girls spun faster and faster, clacking their finger-cymbals double-time…

“Odd – that woman’s beauty, through Eve, is what introduced evil to the world.”

 

For 1,500 years she has been cruelly maligned by history. Labelled as corrupt, immoral and sexually depraved by the sixth-century historian Procopius in his notorious Secret History, the Byzantine Empress Theodora was condemned to be judged a degenerate harlot by posterity. Until now. Due to a conviction that its contents would only be understood by generations of the distant future, a manuscript that has remained unopened for a millennium and a half is about to set the record straight. It will unravel the deepest secrets of a captivating and charismatic courtesan, her unlikely romance with an Emperor, and her rise to power and influence that would outshine even Cleopatra. This historical novel traces the love affairs, travails, machinations, scandals and triumphs of a cast of real characters who inhabit an Empire at its glorious and fragile peak. It’s the tale of a dazzling civilization in its Golden Age; one which, despite plague, earthquakes and marauding Huns, would lay the foundation for modern Europe as we know it.

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