Fans of historical novels ought not to miss this one. "Imperial Purple" is set in the early Christian era during the reign of Theodosius II (408-450)and with the author's "The Bearkeeper's Daughter" and "The Beacon at Alexandria" the novel examines why "Byzantine" has entered our language as an adjective. Well written and reasearched.(alternate selection of the History Book Club)
I like Gillian Bradshaw's work very much. Like the best of the historical novelists (Sharon Kay Penman, Mary Renault, Robert Graves) she has done her research on the times and places where her characters are set. A reader does not feel these are 20th/21st century people wearing costumes as is too common in the worst of the historical fiction I've read.
Trying NOT to give away the plot, I will just say the main characters are a family of State Slaves (ie, belonging to the Emperor and working for the state) but surprisingly well off--almost middle class if that were not a current concept--but still, after all, slaves: a mother, father and child.
The time and place is 4th Century AD Constantinople, at the time when it had taken over the leadership of what was left of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, though splintered and under attack everywhere by Barbarian tribes (including, at this time, Attila the Hun)there was still great wealth and power at the top, with the...
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