About THE SECRET HISTORY
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Where Theodora went, trouble followed…
In sixth century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds, and rose from being a common theater tart to become empress of a great kingdom, the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. But the woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was, in fact, a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told…
When her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation on the streets. Determined to survive, Theodora makes a living any way she can—first on her back with every man who will have her, then on the stage of the city’s infamous amphitheater in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a back-door entry into the halls of power, she seizes the chance to win a wealthy protector—only to face heartbreak and betrayal.
Ever resilient, Theodora rises above such trials and by a twist of fate, meets her most passionate admirer yet: the Emperor’s nephew. She will thrive as his confidant and courtesan, but many challenges lie ahead. For one day, this man will hand her a crown. And all the empire will wonder—is she bold enough, shrewd enough, and strong enough to keep it?
Praise for The Secret History
“Stephanie Thornton’s Theodora is tough and intelligent, spitting defiance against the cruel world of the Byzantine Empire. Her rise from street urchin to emperor’s consort made me want to stand up and cheer. Her later years as empress are great fun to read, but it was her early struggle as actress and courtesan that really had me roaring: either with rage at the misfortunes heaped on this poor girl, or with delight as she once more picked herself up with a steely glint in her eye and kept on going.”—Kate Quinn, author of Empress of the Seven Hills
"Loss, ambition and lust keep this rich story moving at top speed. Stephanie Thornton writes a remarkable first novel that brings a little known woman to full, vibrant life...A sprawling and irresistible story."—Jeane Westin, author of The Spymaster's Daughter
"A fascinating and vivid account; in The Secret History, the life of Empress Theodora leaps from the page, as colorful and complex as the woman herself."—Michelle Diener, author of The Emperor's Conspiracy
Words cannot describe this novel. It is that good. Theodora has always been an endless fascination to me. A peasant who rose above all and became empress of the Byzantine empire. She's the type of woman who controls her own destiny.
This book is just amazing! I found myself just enthralled by her life. I realize this is a work of fiction, but it closely mimics historical accounts of her life.
Stephanie Thornton has created more than just a novel. This is a work of art. While reading the pages of this book, the reader is actually with Theodora. We accompany her throughout her life, we experience her trials, her failures and her joys. I may not have agreed with all of her decisions, nor can I understand all of her decisions, but I have to admire her drive and ambition.
I can't recommend this book enough. It is truly wonderful. I look forward to more from Ms. Thornton, but this will be a tough book to surpass.
About the Author
Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.
For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton's website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.