Anna of Byzantium

Anna of Byzantium

by Tracy Barrett


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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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440415367
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/28/2000
Series: Laurel-Leaf Books
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 121,487
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 6.94(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

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.

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Anna of Byzantium 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For any fans of Meyer's 'Mary, Bloody Mary,' this is the Byzantium version of it, with the eldest daughter of the ruler going from beloved daughter and intended heir to disgraced princess watching helplessly as her younger sibling replaces her! A riveting, intensely emotional book, it brings tears to your eyes to read about her tragic and frustrating fall from grace and power, and the forlorn dashing of all her hopes and dreams in the end. And in contrast to the reviews, I found Anna to be a sympathetic character from the very beginning--from the time I first read the description of the book. The characters, especially Anna, are also wonderful and well defined, except for a few minor ones who did not appear much. The only problem is that in making Anna seem so sympathetic, the author manipulated her younger brother's character to seem vile, spoiled, spiteful, and just plain evil, with making him seem possibly okay only in the very end. But according to history, her brother was a wise and kind ruler, perhaps one of the best Byzantium rulers ever. So perhaps the author manipulated history a bit too much. But still, as a story in itself, it is exceptional.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anna of Byzantium is a great novel!!! We were reading medieval novels in school and I didn't think I would enjoy any of the novels on the list, but that changed when I started reading this book. Anna Comnena is a princess. She is also her father's first born and is his chosen succesor which means she is to rule the Byzantine Empire after him. The barbarians who think it is strange to have a female ruler don't bother her at all, nor does the birth of her baby brother. Anna's father's advisor, his manipulative mother, starts giving Anna lessons. As Anna matures into a young lady, her intellagence threatens her grandmother. So her grandmother moves on to Anna's younger brother, John, and trys to convince Anna's father that John is better suited to rule. Almost overnight, Anna sees her chances of becoming a ruler wrenched away by her evil brother and grandmother. Bitter and wanting revenge, Anna waits for the right moment to seek what is rightfully hers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author managed a good deal of emotion for the reader. Throughout the novel, I despised the young John more and more, as did Anna. I was furious when she lost her crown, all through the scheming of her 'wicked' grandmother. Surprisingly, I felt that the ending was excellent, though it was not what I had originally predicted. I would recommend this more to teen girls than boys, as it was narrated by a girl, and I think they would appreciate it more. It is also a good introduction to the people and rulers of the Byzantine Empire, as I had never really been interested in it previously. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book, well written. I felt very sorry for Anna in the end. Her brother was a total brat, and she lost her crown to him. I REALLY hated him. Super Slime! The book was very good though, and i would reccomend it.
InfinityOutlaw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story giving flesh to the historical character of Anna of Byzantium. Yes, it's historical fiction and liberties were taken with the characters, but overall I found it fairly interesting. The Byzantine empire isn't something I'm terribly familiar with, but this book definitely piqued my interest in it. I also enjoyed the references made to classical myths my Anna's teacher. Always fun to see classics at work. I enjoy reading books like this based on lesser known historical characters. We get caught up on the same few "big" characters of the past that so many other interesting people get overlooked. I'm happy to see fiction like this in the young adult section, letting children know about these lesser known figures like Anna.That being said, I really disliked Anna. She's the main character and I suppose as such you're supposed to empathize with her and see things from her perspective, but I had trouble as seeing her as anything more than a spoiled brat who was trying to play a game that she didn't realize the rules of. Maybe I just got off on the wrong foot with her in the beginning chapters, after all, my first impression was of her whining about how horrible her life was and how everyone was against her and couldn't understand her. She's a spoiled princess. Instead I really enjoyed the character of her brother John. Sure he did some pretty bratty things, but somehow I doubt that Anna would have hesitated to do those same things if she had been in position to do so. Despite his dyslexia, John truly learns to play the game of politics and not only wins his way to the throne but also outmaneuvers the ruthless grandmother. He did what Anna tried to do but better, and in the end he proves to be a good person. True, Anna did redeem herself somewhat by the time the narration returns to her in the convent, but I still feel that on some level she was still the spoiled princess.
kittykay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a young girl, Anna Comnena has many qualities most young women of our times would envy: she is very sure of herself, intelligent and a young beauty. More than that, she¿s also a princess designated as successor to her father to rule on the Byzantine Empire. Too perfect to be true? Certainly. Very soon, Anna¿s arrogance costs her everything she has ever hoped for.The novel is a short, fast-paced read with an unusual heroine. It is interesting to read about a young girl with such a self-confidence, who wishes for power and vengence and finally learns a little bit more about life through her failure. The author certainly keeps it interesting, although the conclusion of the book seemed a little long considering the length of the book (a small 199 pages). We very seldomely read about the Byzantine Empire, and although the author took some liberties with the history, it is a refreshing setting.
sgerbic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed Dec. 2000 I knew almost nothing about this time in history, so I was excited to read Asimov's version of this time. Asimov feels that Anna's "horrible" brother John whom she tries to kill is actually a fine king. The author took quite a few liberties with the history of this young girl. She does admit in the end the true history of Anne. I think I would have liked to have seen a bit more history of the Crusades and the cruelty associated with it. 24-2000
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book because the author purposely portrays the main character, Anna Comnena, in a way that makes the reader hate her. She is spoiled, arrogant, cold, and power hungry above all else.A great work of character development, the reader sees her gradually change over the years.This is a sad and powerful story, with rich detail about the historical setting of Byzantium.I loved this book!
BookishPatti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick, easy, and colorful read. I have never read anything involving the Byzantine Empire and this book just whetted my appetite for it. While it is very fictionalized, it is still an excellent story, both for young and adult readers.
smohri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book mostly because I enjoyed learning about Anna Comnena. I thought it was very straight forward and easy to follow. Not a challenging read for most middle school readers, but a good introduction to the Byzantine Empire and the lives of royal families of the time.
texlexread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it. A quick read that made me easily imagine being with Anna.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book!!!!
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I loved this book!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutley loved this book! I finished it in 4 days and fell in love with it from the start! I had to read this for my 8th grade reading projet and I hope to get an A on it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing! Kudos Ms. Barrett! I fell in love with the depth, the emotions, the detail, the history, and the thrills of this novel. It's a beautiful story and I was amazed at how easily my feelings were affected by the characters actions and what happened. The ending is perfect and it is the best story about a woman who became a legend because of her brilliant mind and knowledge. Do no pass up on this book!