Monday, December 14, 2015

Book review: "Tales of Byzantium: A Selection of Short Stories" by Eileen Stephenson

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Hola from the rooftop pool at Beach Palace in Mexico! I only have a few hours before flying home, so I thought I'd try to send the sound of the waves and the smell of sunscreen through the computer.

Speaking of exotic places...Byzantium. For me it sounds like one of those mysterious far off kingdoms that sound beautiful but that you couldn't find on a map to save your soul. (Well you couldn't find it on any current maps, but you know what I mean).

Eileen's short stories were perfect little poolside read. Tales of smart (and occasionally cunning and bad sneaky) men and women and their lives in this exotic empire. Honestly, my main complaint was that I would have liked a few more stories! I'll just have to wait for volume 2! Also, almost all of the people in the stories were noble, or at least associated with the palace in some way. I'd be interested to see what it was like for me every day "not special" citizens were like. However, the upside of having almost all of the characters be noble is that you find out what happens to them after the story ends! You find out if that sickly kid ever gets to be King, if that scary army ever makes a comeback after getting tricked in a risky military move, or if that exciting first love lasts forever.....

This slim volume is a great introduction to an intriguing empire. I know the next time I'm wandering the library i will be wandering over the Byzantine Empire section to see if I can find a follow up read to this one!

About the Author

Eileen Stephenson was born in Fort Worth, Texas but spent most of her life in the Washington, DC area. She has degrees from both Georgetown University and George Washington University (neither involving the Byzantines) and is married with three daughters. Her interest in Byzantine history all started one fateful day when every other book in the library looked boring except for John Julius Norwich’s A Short History of Byzantium.

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