The Purple Shroud

The Purple Shroud

3.65 (264 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore," Stella Duffy's chronicle of this amazing woman's early years, delighted readers with its exquisite blend of historical detail and vivid storytelling. Now, "The Purple Shroud" chronicles Theodora at the height of her power, bringing the ancient world alive in another unforgettable, epic saga.Theodora and Justinian have been crowned Emperor and Empress, but ruling an empire is no easy task. The two factions of Christianity are still battling for dogmatic supremacy, the Empire's borders are not secure, and Theodora worries about the ambitions of Justinian's two best generals. But the most pressing concern is close to home: Constantinople's two factions, the Blues and the Greens, are beginning to unite in their unhappiness with rising taxes. When that unhappiness spills over into all-out violence, thousands are killed (including someone very close to Theodora) and many of the City's landmarks are destroyed, including Theodora's beloved Hagia Sophia. In the aftermath of the riots, Theodora guides Justinian in gaining back the love and trust of the people, her unerring instinct for what the people want proving invaluable. Justinian promises to rebuild the Hagia Sophia to be even more spectacular than before. Theodora comes to realize that being the Augusta is simply another role she must play, though the stakes are much higher and there is no offstage. It's a role she was born to play.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 390 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 20mm | 299.37g
  • Penguin Books
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • black & white illustrations, maps
  • 0143122258
  • 9780143122258
  • 944,452

Review quote

Praise for "Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore"
""Theodora"""is a best-of-all-worlds book--entertaining, gripping, thoughtful and dangerously enlightening. Stella Duffy, a versatile and gifted novelist, is uniquely suited to bringing Theodora to life. She clearly has great affection for her subject, but does not allow that to undercut her keen eye and pitch-perfect ear. An achievement that many writers will envy and few will equal." --Laura Lippman
"In "Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore," Stella Duffy's brilliantly organized imagination has re-imagined one of the most resourceful, smart, and emotionally complex woman in history, creating a woman remarkably relevant to the 21st century: a rags-to-riches story of survival and achievement--a feminist reality tale we can all relate to. Read this book. It is a gift from Stella Duffy we should not refuse." --LAMBDA" Literary Review" "Lively and dramatic. Duffy explores themes of sexuality, theater, religious conversion, female oppression, and the struggle for power and recognition in a sixth-century historical setting with a surprisingly contemporary attitude." --"Library Journal"
"Duffy's seductive retelling of the story of the legendary empress Theodora will delight historical fiction fans. . . . a portrait of a woman who rose from misfortune and poverty to build an empire alongside a devoted husband." "--Publishers Weekly"
"""Duffy's passion for her heroine, the charismatic Theodora, is evident on every page. The result is a novel that remains true to its historical sources, whilst managing to reinvent its subject matter with great freshness and verve. A vivid and affectionate portrait of one of the most fascinating personalities of the ancient world." --Sarah Waters, author of "The Little Stranger""
Fantastic praise from the UK:
"Stella Duffy's first historical novel will set a benchmark for others to aim for. Her story of Theodora's rise from dancing girl and whore to Empresse
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About Stella Duffy

Stella Duffy was born in London, grew up in New Zealand, and now lives in London. She is the author of seven literary novels, including The Room of Lost Things and State of Happiness, both of which were Longlisted for the Orange Prize. The Room of Lost Things won the Stonewall Writer of the Year 2008, and she won the Stonewall Writer of the Year 2010 for Theodora. She is also the author of the Saz Martin detective series. She has written over 45 short stories, including several for BBC Radio 4, and won the 2002 CWA Short Story Dagger for Martha Grace. Her ten plays include an adaptation of Medea for Steam Industry, and Prime Resident and Immaculate Conceit for the National Youth Theatre (UK). In addition to her writing work she is an actor and theatre director.
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Rating details

264 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 21% (55)
4 39% (103)
3 29% (76)
2 8% (21)
1 3% (9)
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