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Description - Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett

For fans of Joan of Arc and Alexander the Great, comes "a gripping saga of alliances, intrigues, deceits, and treacheries" about Anna Comnena of the Byzantine Empire. Anna Comnena has every reason to feel entitled. She's a princess, her father's firstborn and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine Empire. So the birth of a baby brother doesn't perturb her. Nor do the "barbarians" from foreign lands, who think only a son should ascend to power. Anna is as dismissive of them as are her father and his most trusted adviser--his mother, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna relishes her lessons, proving adept at checkmating opponents in swift moves of mental chess. But as she matures into a young woman, her arrogance and intelligence threaten her grandmother. Anna will be no one's puppet. Almost overnight, Anna sees her dreams of power wrenched from her and bestowed on her little brother. Bitter at the betrayal, Anna waits to avenge herself, and to seize what is rightfully hers. Praise for Anna of Byzantium A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book An ALA Quick Pick An ALA Best Book for Young Adults A Booklist Editor's Choice A Booklist Top Ten Historical Fiction Pick [ STAR ] "[ Anna of Byzantium ] involves readers in a gripping saga of alliances, intrigues, deceits, and treacheries worthy of a place among the tragic myths." The Bulletin , Starred review " In the tradition of E. L. Konigsburg's A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver and Karen Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy comes this story of a real-life historical figure, Anna Commena, groomed to be the sovereign of the Byzantine empire Barrett uses an effective first-person narrative to draw readers into Anna's story, and the author's precise use of detail helps re-create Anna's world, the palace of Constantinople in the ninth century. . . Readers will be caught up in this exciting read." Booklist , Boxed review " A fascinating mix of history, mystery, and intrigue. "- The Horn Book Magazine "Barrett does a remarkable job of painting moods and emotions with spare, elegant sentences. . . This splendid novel about a neglected period of history is the perfect choice. . . Hard to imagine it being any better written. " VOYA " This wonderfully engaging novel both entertains and serves as a lively history lesson with its well-researched background, dramatic plot and dimensional characters. Barrett's descriptive, engaging prose will draw readers into a fascinating historical time, filled with political intrigue and a complex, admirable teen protagonist who faces her changing future with an inspiring combination of heart and mind." Wichita Eagle "

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780440415367
ISBN-10: 0440415365
Format: Paperback
(175mm x 117mm x 15mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Bantam USA
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
Publish Date: 10-Oct-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett

US Kirkus Review » Loosely based on the early life of Anna Comnena, a Byzantine princess and scholar born in the 11th century, this debut succeeds neither in creating coherent character portraits, nor in illuminating its epoch. Designated successor to the throne, Anna has grown up in a cloistered court dominated by the rivalry between her gentle mother and crafty, unscrupulous grandmother. Jealous, ambitious, proud of her aptitude for study, Anna is an unappealing narrator who, despite years of her grandmother's tutelage in statecraft, is outclassed in intrigue at every turn by her spiteful, sneaky younger brother, John; ultimately, through her own naivete, she loses her right to succeed her father, then compounds the disaster with an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate John. Off she is sent, to spend the rest of her life in a remote convent. Barrett supplies too light a dusting of detail to give her picture of the court of Byzantium much flavor, and larger events (Anna is remembered chiefly today for her account of her father's reign and the First Crusade) take place offstage. Furthermore, characters act in arbitrary ways, so that when Anna performs a selflessly kind act, it comes out of nowhere, as does John's sudden transformation, when he takes the throne, from malicious brat to the most benevolent and beloved of all the Byzantine emperors. Anna Comnena makes a promising protagonist, but in historical and emotional depth this falls short of other medieval tales, such as Nancy Garden's Dove And Sword (1995). (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Tracy Barrett

Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her first novel, the award-winning Anna of Byzantium. Since then, she has also written The Stepsister's Tale, Dark of the Moon, King of Ithaka, and The Sherlock Files series."

Books By Tracy Barrett

Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Paperback, November 2012
Teaching Guide to the Ancient Greek World by Tracy Barrett
Paperback, November 2007