Read Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett Online


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 fAnna 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.Book Details:Format: PaperbackPublication Date: 10/10/2000Pages: 224Reading Level: Age 12 and Up...

Title : Anna of Byzantium
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780440415367
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 211 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Anna of Byzantium Reviews

  • ``Laurie Henderson
    2019-03-18 02:02

    Anna Comnena was the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, Alexios. Born in 1083, she was the author of The Alexiad, which told of her father's reign and still regarded as an important source of information for that era. This YA book about Anna's life was an informative and quick read for anyone interested in learning more about the Eastern Roman Empire. Princess Anna was the first born child and was viewed from the beginning as her father's successor. She was given a rigorous education which included astronomy, history, geography, math and military affairs.The brilliant Anna was a scholar, physician and hospital administrator as well as an historian.But her heart was broken when she was 13 with the birth of her brother John, who would replace her as heir to the throne.Anna would spend the next years of her life trying to regain her position as heir, even resorting to a plot to murder her younger brother upon the death of her father. The plot was discovered and Anna forfeited her estates. She had married at the age of 14 and had 4 children. Upon the death of her husband she would enter a convent where she would dedicate the rest of her life to the study of history, philosophy and writing her famous book.Anna was a fascinating woman whose works are still read today.

  • booklady
    2019-03-05 03:03

    I've always been fascinated with the Crusades. Seven years ago when I did my own mini-study of them I remember running across the name Anna Comnena as a frequently quoted eleventh century Byzantine historian. Although I never completed that study due to homeschooling requirements, I also never forgot about Anna and always wanted to learn more about her. This young adult novel is a fictionalized version of Anna's early life at court in the last days of her father, Alexius I Comnenus. Anna adored her strong, powerful father and beautiful mother. Contrary to western customs, her father could and had designated her as his rightful heir. But Anna was also intelligent and young--a dangerous combination when power and a throne are at stake. For a first novel, this is absolutely incredible! I look forward to more great historical fiction by Ms. Barrett! I cannot recommend this book highly enough to all teachers and homeschooling parents as an excellent book for the 4th through 6th grades. Thanks again Krista for another great tip!

  • Jess
    2019-03-20 02:11

    This story succeeds in bringing to life the court of the Byzantine emperor in the 11th century - a setting that I don't think I've encountered before, particularly in a children's book. You get the sense that Barrett knows her history well, and she's chosen a character and period that seem rich and fascinating. Instead of playing Anna as a sympathetic every-girl, Barrett shows her as someone truly born to the purple, taught to rule from an early and keenly aware of what is her due. While this was refreshing and rang of historical accuracy, I never quite connected to the story in any way - I would've liked something a bit more in-depth, maybe. Still, I would recommend it to anyone interested in the period, or anyone looking for historical fiction taking place outside of western Europe.I forgot to note that the book has a pleasantly in-depth author's note in terms of what she fictionalized and what is true. Also, I think the cover is pretty fab and has held up well in the 10 years since it was published. I couldn't help but wish, though, as the book highlighted differences between succession and rule in the East versus the West, that it had also played up some of the religious differences. Apart from a few mentions of hymns (in that wonderfully familiar style), the religious characters and the convent where Anna is sent could have just as easily been (disappointingly) Western. Bah.

  • Small Review
    2019-02-24 01:20

    Engaging. It was nice to read about a person and period that are less popular. Full review to come. Originally posted on Small ReviewYikes, Anna! Talk about your family drama. Backstabbing, coups, attempted coups—Anna's family doesn't play around.Anna is a strong, confident character who is easy to root for (but would probably make an awful sleepover party friend). She reminded me of Isabella in her steadfast determination and "take no prisoners" attitude. This is a good thing and I definitely raged alongside her whenever she was wronged.Even though there are a few liberties with the historical timeline (probably to make it more MG appropriate) and this tale is definitely told from Anna's extremely biased perspective, this is still a great historical primer. Highly recommended, especially for fans of the Royal Diaries series. Originally posted on Small Review

  • Katherine
    2019-03-19 01:09

    3.5 out of 5 starsWell after two DNF's in a row, it's about darn time I liked and finished a book.Lada could take a few tips from Anna as well.Review coming soon!!!

  • Jeanette
    2019-02-16 23:09

    It's difficult to give this kind of novel, one with wide appeal to teens or children of the present day, the kind of context it deserves without having very difficult violence and atrocity events dominate the telling. But this author does that (not offending sensibilities of young minds) while making the telling itself, whole piece and contained within a complete and revealing to personalities style. All at the same time in easy read and interesting copy.She's made Anna an every girl with strong self-identity and a verve of intelligence and personality that is exceptional on all counts. And she describes the Byzantium world of that 11th century to a 4 star or better degree. My only problem is that in this easy read and YA version of historical fiction I always find voids that are little addressed for the types of issues that cannot lay openly exposed for YA sensibilities. Because this time is so very harsh. And often brutal way beyond this telling here. Brutal as the parrot's outcome that bite her brother. And far more often "common" too than in the world that Anna viewed every day at court, and later within her convent historian work world.This would be a 5 star exposure to past girlhoods and class divisions within those 11th century mores of royalty, succession, and power influences. Sophia's story and also that outcome of Anna's first promised blonde warrior, both of those also include the particular reality of that world. Life and conflict being most ordinarily short, cold, and final. And death from illness quick and often.

  • Heather
    2019-03-04 02:26

    Genre: BiographyAward: Garden State Teen Book Award (NOMINATED FOR AN AWARD) 2002; Volunteer State Book Award (NOMINATED FOR AN AWARD) 2002Star Rating: Four StarsGrade Level: 7-12th grade Although the vocabulary is relatively simple, the themes of pride, vanity and revenge can reverberate with any age group. The pleasure of reading this short and concise narrative of the life of Princess Anna Comnena is truly to see that there were not exclusively male authors and scholars during the medieval period in history. Anna is an excellent role model for the burgeoning young thinker, whether they are male or female. Summary: Anna of Byzantium is the gripping and emotional retelling of the life of an underappreciated princess in an often ignored period of history. Anna was raised to the be the Empress of Byzantium as rule was passed from ruler to whomever they picked to follow in their stead, not necessarily their eldest son or child, as was the more common practice in the rest of Europe. She was trained in the classics, by her teacher Simon and in politics, diplomacy and governing by her grandmother, who was also her father’s most trusted advisor and regent in his absence. This is seems to be her inevitable, but not dissatisfying future, until the birth of her brother John and her foolhardy actions that displeasure her grandmother. So she fell from the grace of her father and his throne, as she had been warned by her teacher Simon that her pride would make her fall much like Icarus and his wax wings. Anna is a patient woman though and waits for the moment to strike her brother and regain what was rightfully hers; however she is betrayed by those she trusts the most and imprisoned for her crime. Evaluation: Tracy Barrett, the author, has done extensive research in the lives and times of a number of medieval women writers, among them the Byzantine princess Anna Comnena. She explains in her author’s note that, although the real Anna Comnena lived from 1083 to 1153 and she was to have assumed the throne upon the death of her father, the emperor, as stated in the biography, some of her life story has been fictionalized. Ms. Barrett states, “I have changed some of the facts of the story, mostly by compressing the period in which the events took place, eliminating some characters, and inventing others.” She then goes on to explain explicitly what details were modified, including the number of Anna’s siblings, Anna’s marriage to her betrothed, and the supporting characters that were works of fiction. Otherwise, the book is accurate to the details of Anna’s life, as I discovered from reading her entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica, upon completion of the novel. Her biography is relevant to young adults today, as it is so surprising to find a woman of such intellectual means in a period of supposed intellectual darkness. The biography is free from bias and is not patronizing to the reader. Anna’s voice is clear and very modern, which should appeal to young adults. The content is up-to-date, as the research Ms. Barrett did was completed as recently as the year 2000. Her story is complete and objective; with language and dialect that reflects the Byzantium Empire of that time and the tone and voice of a princess. The very construct of the a woman scholar and writer from this time period is in and of itself controversial, not to mention the fact that she was the heir apparent to the throne of the wealthiest empire in Europe/Asia Minor at this time. Ms. Barrett deals with the construct of Anna with delicacy neither debunking her nor placing her on a pedestal. Although, there is not a bibliography of sources, endnotes, footnotes or a list of recommended readings included there are special features such as a period map and family tree of the Byzantium royal family. Description of the ending:Anna of Byzantium has a closed ending. The conclusion is reassuring and the problem is solved. Although, Anna does not gain the crown in her failed attempt to usurp her brother, she does not live without solace in her monastical “prison.” For the remainder of her life she works on transcriptions of histories and mythology and the story of her father The AlexiadSuggestions: I am seriously considering teaching this in conjunction with Canterbury Tales< /i>and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as there are so few documented examples of women writers from the medieval period. Thus, my students will be allowed to identify the characteristics of various literary genres, movements and critical approaches. It would also enable them to analyze text from a feminine perspective.Read Aloud:I nodded assent, and Theodora left, reappearing a few minutes later with her hymnal. She turned to a page marked “April 1: Mary the Egyptian,” and I read: ”You severed the temptations of the soul and the passions of the body with the sword of temperance; the crimes of the mind you choked with the silence of spiritual discipline, and wit the streams of your teas you watered the entire desert, and made to grow in us the seeds of repentance: therefore we celebrate your memory, holy one.” I admired the warlike imagery of the opening. I know all about fighting my passions as though in a battle. At the bottom of the page was the name Kassia. (Pg. 196)“What do you think, Simon?” I asked. “Should I forgive?”As usual, he answered with a story. “Do you remember the tale of King Thyestes? He stole the throne of Mycenae from his brother, Atreus, by a trick and then committed adultery with Atreus’ wife. Atreus pretended forgiveness and invited Thysestes to a banquet. After Thysestes and dined richly on a stew, Atreus revealed to his that he had eaten his own children. . . . You see, Little Beetle? Once it starts it doesn’t stop.”(Pg. 167)“It is not strange for me to live her now, in this community of women. Unlike some of the degenerate western countries of which I have read, and whose representative s I met during the Crusade, the women of Byzantium do not mix with men. We have own palaces, or at least our own apartments in a larger palace. The little boys stay with the women until they reach the age when they need training in arms, and then they move to the men’s quarters.” (Pg. 23)

  • P Dreadful
    2019-02-23 19:17

    See full review here: usually avoid books which are written in first person, but this one was different. The prose is elegant without being too ornate and Anna’s character is drawn well. She is a flawed character (she is impetuous, proud and ill-tempered) but it makes the reader empathise with her more. I understood her need to acquire what was her birth-right. I couldn’t help but root for her even though I knew that she would never be the Empress of Byzantium. Her fall was spectacular and was nothing short of tragic. Although this book does not deal with military aspects of the First Crusade fought during her lifetime and it does not have layers the way Pride of Carthage does, it does transport you to Anna’s Byzantium. Nevertheless, the book is so full of factual errors that it made me curious about the author’s sources (which are not listed). This book might not appeal to serious readers of Byzantine history, but it is a well-written book. It is just not historically accurate.

  • Shannan Schoemaker
    2019-03-14 22:10

    Anna of Byzantium - takes the reader on a journey to the court of the Byzantine Empire through the first person female perspective of the heir to the Byzantine throne, Anna Commena, from age four to eighteen. Written by Traci Barrett a typically nonfiction history writer, the court life of the Byzantine Empire comes to life in her first historical fiction novel. Barrett leads the reader through this coming of age tale of the young Anna as she is groomed for the throne by two contrasting personalities: her loving yet intelligent mother and conniving, power hungry, manipulative grandmother. The story is artfully crafted and the narrative takes place as a story Anna is reflecting on and recalling from her past, the reader is informed of Anna’s fate at the beginning of the novel which sets the stage for the second narrative, her past. Because of this, although the reader is transported into the past they are still constantly being tugged towards the future and the inevitable outcome. After being betrayed by her own brother and power-hungry grandmother, Anna is stripped of her right as heir by her father shortly before his own death. Devastated Anna plots revenge and waits for the time to strike and attempt’s to seize the throne from her brother, but once again she betrayed by a long time friend and companion, however this time out of love. They do not want Anna to lose sight of her true nature as a kindhearted and gentle woman and become the power hungry creature her grandmother wanted her to become. I was never bored or anxious to finish the book because the characters were well developed, well written and the character dialogue was excellent, even if it didn’t use appropriate syntax and colloquialisms for the time period. More details about the characters lifestyles or personalities other than Anna’s, her grandmothers and mothers would have been beneficial to the story-line and made all of the characters and the setting more realistic. However, the development of the main character, Anna, was well done. Anna’s gradual development from emotional, vengeful, vain, and power-hungry to scholarly, accepting and humble was enjoyable. Towards the end of the novel I found myself hoping against hopes that Anna would ultimately succeed and become the strong female ruler she would have been had she maintained the line of succession, however the ending allowed for more personal growth than political since Anna ultimately became an important historical figure due to her writing and work on her own book the Alexiad, a biography of her father’s rule of Byzantium a significant historical document in its own right and a unique example of female writing and literacy in the “Dark Ages.” A good introduction to the time period, the Byzantine Empire, the Crusades, Female's in history and the art of living life at court.

  • Natalia
    2019-02-22 19:03

    Anna of Byzantium transports the reader back to the time of the Byzantine empire through the perspective of the young heir to the throne, Anna Comnena. This book offers an intimate look at the inner workings of the royal family, including all the politics and work required by just being a royal. Anna of Byzantium was written by Tracy Barrett and was first published in 1998. It was her first novel and was received well. Barrett leads the reader through young Anna’s life as she is prepared for her duties as the future empress. Her whole world turns upside down when the throne is ripped out from underneath her by the hands of her power-hungry grandmother and younger brother. Plotting revenge, Anna waits for the right time to seize the throne and take back what is rightfully hers. The subsequent themes of pride, vanity, and revenge recur throughout the novel.Barrett uses a frame-narrative to describe what’s happening in the story. A frame narrative is essentially a story within a story. In this case, Anna’s fate is introduced at the beginning of the novel to set the stage for a more emphasized second narrative. The reader stays in the past and learns of the events leading up to the end of the story with the ending already in mind. This technique worked well with the story and helped build suspense and empathy for the characters. The story kept my interest throughout the novel. I never felt bored or anxious to get the book over with; I can genuinely say I enjoyed it. The characters were well developed and the ending of the story satisfied me. If there is one thing I could change, it would be more involvement and development of supporting characters. The princess only interacted with them when necessary, and there weren’t many details about their lifestyles or personalities. Other then that, I felt that the development of the main character, Anna, was well done. I believe the story to be historically accurate. I appreciated that at the end of the story, the author specified what exactly she had changed from fact to fiction. The intended audience for this book is middle and high schoolers. I myself am a high schooler, and I can say that Barrett did a wonderful job delivering a complex and interesting story from a time that isn’t frequently talked about. Anna’s development from vengeful, vain, and power-hungry to accepting, aware, and humble was enjoyable and relatable. At the beginning her sense of entitlement was irritating, but I found myself rooting for her towards the end. This is the mark of good storytelling. I found the book easy to navigate and enjoyable to read. I would recommend this book to a friend and I plan on reading it again.

  • J.
    2019-03-08 20:05

    I admit, I had never heard of this book before. The cover isn't particularly flashy--neither is the title, nor the jacket copy. Considering all this, it feels like a minor miracle that I read this book at all. I saw it on a library shelf and had been wanting to read more historical YA, and I don't know a lot about the Byzantine Empire besides the survey look from World History and AP Euro, so I wanted to give it a try. I thought I might give up on it early on.To my surprise, it's a lot more engaging than the cover, title, or jacket copy led me to believe. I should've trusted the publisher; the book was clearly not published for mass-market appeal, after all. The first chapter didn't grab me immediately, and I don't usually like frame narratives (here, you start near the end and then stay in the past as Anna tells you how she got there, until the end). But I found that it worked really well here. Barrett's language is simple but evocative, and she did a good job making me care for the characters.Even Anna, I was doubtful about in the beginning. I didn't relish the idea of reading a book about someone who is wronged and wants revenge, but the ending had better closure than I thought, and the ending was more satisfying than I believed possible from where it looked like it was heading.I didn't expect any romance, and this is by no means a book I'd categorize as romance, but I really enjoyed the hints of it. (view spoiler)[I was getting really into it, but it was nipped in the bud pretty quickly. (hide spoiler)]Overall, if it's not a book I imagine myself returning to, it is still a lovely historical account that nevertheless sweeps you up in a good story, and resolves fairly well, all within only about 200 pages.

  • Shannon
    2019-03-07 21:01

    Every now and then, a book falls into your hands at just the right time. Last week, I went to a Medieval Treasures exhibit at the Frist Center and yesterday I read Anna of Byzantium. The temporal setting is not exactly the same: Anna's Byzantium is 1083, a few hundred years before most of the art I enjoyed. But this book, written during a time when literacy was a gift, not a given, made me think about many of the same issues I pondered as I looked at illuminated manuscripts in glass cases.Anna is the eldest daughter of Constantine, the Emperor of Byzantium. She is bright, confident and enjoys learning. Her learning comes via a personal tutor and her grandmother, who helped her father seize the throne years ago.This book has family angst (Anna and her brother take sibling rivalry to a whole new level), intrigue (will Anna follow her mother's gentle lead or her grandmother's conniving one?) and history aplenty (Venetian ambassadors, Crusades).As an added bonus, it's a young adult book, so it's a quick read and there's no sex or violence. If you'd like to spend an enjoyable afternoon in Constantinople (not Istanbul), spend it with Anna of Byzantium.

  • Anajoy-rusticgirl
    2019-02-22 01:11

    Part of the back/Partly mine:Anna Comeni is a princess, her father's first born and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine empire. 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 advisor-his mother, Anna Dalassena, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna relishes her lessons, proving adept at checkmating opponents in swift games of mental chess. But as she matures into a young woman her arrogance and intelligence threatens her grandmother. Anna will be no ones puppet. Almost overnight 'thanks to a loose sentence speaking to a friend, and her sneaking brother spying' 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 seize what is rightfully hers.

  • Hannah
    2019-03-11 02:21

    Though Anna of Byzantium is interesting and well-written, with vivid characters and moving scenes, I did not like it. Almost all of the characters act from purely selfish motives, using deceit and any means possible to get their desires, so it is difficult to figure out which side is the "right" side, because neither is fully in the right. Much of the story is very sad as it is clearly not written from a Christian worldview, and evil frequently triumphs, even in the end. As the book is not historically accurate, I found no redeeming quality.

  • Sid
    2019-03-07 03:17

    When my english teacher told me we were going to read this book, I was like Ohoooooooo SHINY. When I started reading it I realized Anna liked to complain. A lot. She complained.And complained.And complained some more.Al she talked about was that she wanted to kill her baby brother. (and she tried to. She was 5 when this happened.)OMG IS THIS WHAT HAPPENS IN HISTORY?

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2019-03-01 03:25

    Outstanding! After I read this I just had to read more about the history of the Byzantine empire-- and about Anna Comnena.

  • Karen
    2019-03-18 03:04

    Reading for CC1 wk11 and 12..krb 1/5/16We all loved reading this historical fiction and had great discussions about the characters. Mom cried at the end of course..krb 1/14/16

  • cookiemonger
    2019-03-09 23:09

    ​This reminded me of Lion in Winter in so many ways. The intricacies of political intrigue coloured by the protagonist’s youth and family relationships beyond royalty are all compelling and dutifully made real.Anna’s identity is entirely tied up in her position as the firstborn princess and heir apparent, but the slightly nonlinear nature of the books lets you know from the start that this isn’t her ultimate destiny. This made it a bit hard to get into at first, as her life in the monastery is just as energetically depicted as the rest. Anna is a character who at all times cares very deeply, and resists change.Most of the book is about her initial life and the many losses and disappointments she suffers. Everything that led her to where we find her in chapter one. As is often the case in such a narrative, it was hard to see her struggle, knowing where her efforts would eventually lead. But it’s also an interesting emotional journey.Tracy Barrett is an exceptional writer. The Byzantine setting is calmly realistic, even chained to the small environment of the palace. Moral lessons Anna learns are subtle and poignant. Particularly near the end, when the lesson is a challenge for the reader to learn and accept.One of the most interesting parts of my reading experience was realising how little I actually think about the function of first person perspective. In some books, it’s merely a style choice. In this book, Anna’s perception directly affected my own, despite my power as a third party to judge events differently.

  • Int'l librarian
    2019-03-03 02:24

    Sure, it’s great that the courts of Constantinople are featured in a young adult novel. There’s a lot of interesting Byzantine politics and culture to learn about here. It helps that Barrett includes an author’s note to confirm the basic history, including some facts she felt compelled to change. But why does the tour guide have to be such a brat? OK - that makes sense too, in some ways. Pre-teen Princess Anna is heir to the Byzantine throne. She’s been groomed for the role all her life. That includes accepting privilege as a right, and never showing any deference to those beneath her. So she threatens to execute palace slaves at a whim, and she dumps her mom’s wisdom in favor of her witch of a grandma, who has her son the emperor’s ear. It finally dawns on Anna that Grandma is evil, about the same time Grandma figures out Anna is too much of a pain. So Granny plots and swats Anna away in order to clear a path to the crown for the even brattier youngest grandson, John. And of course Anna gets to do a 180 and honor her mom and hate her Grandma and plot for the empire that is rightfully hers, because Dad picked her first for the job after all. Even after all this Anna is still almost all pride and privilege and snotty scorn. That may very well be the kind of people these royals were. The truth hurts, I guess. I actually like how far Anna goes in her frenzy for revenge. But that doesn’t mean I have to like her, and that puts a limit on how much I can like this story.

  • Michele
    2019-03-02 23:14

    The book , Anna of byzantium is a kind of good book because it has a good story but has a bad ending because it shows how instead of winning the problem got 'solved’ which really didn’t. As shown, “As shown here," I started with an account of my life here and my visit to the scriptorium ,but these memories are nothing compared with my life before I came to this barren place"(Barrett 13). The story really changes in this book it is a good story at the same time but if only the ending would have been happier for Anna instead of a conventional. This is a good book because it shows true facts that really did happen in real life like shown, “...Turks threatened this empire,he asked Pope Urban II to lend him some soldiers to repulse them "(207). This also contains drama of love when Anna seeks for who to love but things happen, “Died ? The golden Constantine?"(125). Has great teaching lesson teaches how revenge isn't good, “You see, Little Beetle? Once it starts it doesn’t stop.”(Pg. 167). That is why this book deserves 3 stars sort of a good book that has a hard story for Anna not that bad.

  • DeAnn
    2019-03-04 20:27

    I love historical books about women, and this one does not disappoint. As told in the first person, Anna Comnenus is a princess destined to become the empress of the Byzantium kingdom when she is disinherited and finally exiled. This woman that I have never heard of previous to reading this book, however, has had a tremendous impact on history of that region in turn of the century 1100's. She eventually went on to write an eleven volume set of histories about her father Alexei Comnenus' reign that are taken as the main authority of that time period. Do not think that I have told you the whole story, though. There are many interesting tidbits of facts gleaned from this history that I was unaware of, and I think you would find interesting as well. Check it out.

  • Case
    2019-03-16 02:10

    This book was very entertaining, and it really made me consider reading more historical fiction books. At times, it could get a tad boring considering for a large portion Anna sat around depressed, but the actual plot made up for that. It was extremely well written, and I really felt what the characters felt. I had to read this for school, and at one point, I felt genuinely sick from the anger I felt due to some things that happened to the main character. So overall, very well written, and a very interesting plot!

  • Heather
    2019-02-17 01:23

    Anna was a real person who wrote an eleven-book epic about her father, The Alexiad. Her book is where we get much of our information about Byzantium today. Anna of Byzantium is an excellent historical fiction about Anna. The author’s note at the end tells what is real and what was made up or changed. I found the story extremely engaging and well-written. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is studying the Byzantine Empire.

  • Saorise
    2019-02-20 01:21

    it was a good book

  • Courtney Mosier Warren
    2019-02-20 01:11

    A great read. Anna Comnena was a complex character in history and this book does her justice. She is portrayed as neither the heroine nor the villian, but rather as human.

  • Anne
    2019-02-21 20:01

    (Read 5 July 2017 - 9 July 2017)I have never heard of the real Anna Comnena in history and I am happy to have known of her by reading this book. Anna of Byzantium is a fictionalised account of a famous historian in history (see what I did there! hahaha never mind), and it was interesting to read the Author's Note at the back of the book which explained which parts of the book had really happened in history and which was fiction. The plot was a bit unengaging, but I sympathised with Anna Comnena's plight in this book and wished her well while reading the book.20 June 2017 (lk)

  • Daniel Beaudrie
    2019-02-22 22:13

    Anna is a princess of Byzantium, and the heir to the throne. She loves to study and is taught about history and math by Simon, a slave and good friend. When Anna is five she is called to a delegation so her father can present his children to the forge in ambassadors gathered there and learns that she has a new baby brother. When Anna is seven father leaves on a campaign against the Turks and while he is gone Anna begins to learn statecraft from her grandmother, her fathers mother. The longer she takes lessons from her the more she realizes how wicked her grandmother is. She teaches Anna how to lie, cheat, and manipulate rules of other countries into doing her bidding. Anna's grandmother is her fathers most trusted advisor, and he does everything she tells him to. Anna begins to see that her grandmother uses her father to rule. Mean while Anna's brother grows up to be quite the brat, whiny, conniving, evil and illiterate. When she is eleven Anna's mother brings her a slave, and young girl named Sophia to be her hand maiden, telling her that when she is empress she may want to have a friend she can trust. When Anna's father returns from war she and asks how her study's have been going Anna hints at the wrongs her grandmother has been teaching. Always cunning her grandmother quickly assures her father that Anna is lying, and proceeds to convince him that Anna is unworthy of the throne, and her father listens now giving the heirship to John. Grandmother begins training John to be her puppet and ignores Anna. With her future taken away Anna's only solace is studying history, and she decidedly to become a historian and write a book documenting her fathers life. Though he stole her inheritance Anna still loved him. Anna's father becomes very ill and dies, his last act to make his son emperor. Anna and her mother agree that John must not be allowed to rule and plot to kill him. Stealing some medicine and disguised as a slave Anna sneaks into the throne room before the banquet honoring her brothers coronation, and slips a lethal dose of the drug into her brothers drink. But she is caught and imrisoned. When finally brought from her cell Anna learns that Simon had betrayed her plan to her brother. John announces that she is to live the rest of her life in a convent in the mountains, allowing her to take her handmaiden. Anna sets Sophia free and is taken to the convent. She lives there for several years providing medical care for the sisters and farmers of the area when one day Sophia shows up at her door with all the research and paper Anna had begun writing the history of her father on. Anna is content with her place in the world. Anna Comena lived from 1083 to 1153 and her father was Alexius I, his empire was attacked by the Turks and he asked the pope for troops to help defend Byzantium, beginning the first crusade. When her father died Anna and her mother attempted to kill john and failed. The were both sent to exile, separate from each other. The convent Anna lived in was comfortable and many philosophers and scholars gathered there as in other convents. While she was in exile Anna wrote the Alexiad, an eleven book epic on her fathers life, in which she rarely mentions her brother. In real life Anna had many more siblings, and simon and Sophia did not exist, though the book she wrote is the main text used now for information on Byzantium. Despite her dislike for him John became the most loved emperor in all Byzantium's history, remembered as John the Beautiful. I thought this was a very interesting book well written and descriptive. It gave lots of insight into how these rulers lived and how many of them came to power through, deceit, force, and murder. The author did an excellent job of depicting Anna's controlling grandmother and her struggle to maintain power. If you enjoy history, ancient empires and the struggle between right and wrong I recommend this book to you. It is equally intriguing as it is relatable as Anna goes through loss, hate, the burning desire for revenge, and finally settles on just being content with what she enjoys.

  • Peter Klessens
    2019-03-01 00:27

    Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett is about Anna Comnena her fathers first born, and his chosen successor to one day rule the Byzantium empire. The unexpected birth of her brother John doesn't make her anxious or unsettled. The "barbarians" from foreign lands who think only a son should ascend to power don't make her anxious or unsettled either. Anna is dismissive of them and so is her father and his trusted advisor, Anna's grandmother. The grandmother is a manipulative woman who uses Anna to gain power, but as Anna matures her arrogance and intelligence threaten her grandmother and she turns to John to gain power. John then overheard Anna and her teacher Simon talking of how Anna had tried to kill him when he was young. John told his father and Anna was stripped of her dreams of power, and they were given to John. When Anna's father returns from a journey to foreign lands he falls ill and soon dies. John then sends Anna and her Mother to two different small villages in the mountains for trying to kill him again. During Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett there is some parts that are historically accurate and inaccurate. An accurate event is how the marriages were usually arranged so that both the families benefit from it. Another accurate event is when Anna's father was gone a lot to fight the Turks from trying to invade. A third accurate event is when Anna's father came back from one of the expeditions, got ill and died because disease was common during that time. An inaccurate event might of been how Anna just let her slave Sophia go. Another inaccurate event might of been how John sent Anna and his Mother away, and took all the power away from his grandmother. In the book Anna of Byzantium there is a lot of parts that are historically accurate and inaccurate. I really like Anna of Byzantium because it is really informative and interesting. The conflict between Anna vs her grandmother, and Anna and Anna's mom vs John really made me interested about what they could of done different. Anna and Anna's moms conflict with John was that John was basically controlled by his grandmother. Anna's grandmother didn't like Anna's mom so they didn't listen to anything she said. Because of this conflict Anna and Anna's mom tried to kill John but failed. Anna vs her grandmother was a conflict because Anna could see that her grandmother was trying to manipulate her and get to power, but Anna saw through it. A part that I really didn't like was when they were throwing the feast for Anna's dad when he returned from fighting the Turks. He brought Anna a parrot, and other things, and while John was holding the parrot it bit him and drew blood so he demanded it be killed and the servants killed it. Anna of Byzantium is really informative and very interesting. People may want to read this book because the detail the author put into the book. They might also want to read this book because the historical accuracy. During this book the author used many historical facts like the disease that killed Anna's father or how he was always gone fighting the invading Turks. The author also used a great amount of detail in showing the reader the tension between everyone in this book.

  • Haley Egger
    2019-03-19 00:01

    Anna of Byzantium Review Summary:Anna Comnena is a princess of the Byzantine empire during the crusades. She is the first child of the family so of course she expects to be the ruler of the family and succeed her father. Her Grandmother on her dad's side is named Anna Dalassena and her mother, a Ducas.The Dalassena's were lowly goat herders, but the Ducas' had ruled for many years until her Father overpowered with military strength. As I said Anna was to be the heir to the throne until her "homely" brother John was born. At the very first council all of the ambassadors said it was john who should rule, but the Emperor held his ground. From then on she had two scholars, Simon, a peasant tutor and her grandmother. During the learning she began to see that almost everything her grandmother stood with was wrong. One day while talking to her father she went against her grandmother and she began to sway to John. He was completely illiterate but could definitely be a tattle tale. He told the emperor that she was planning on killing him so he placed John as his heir now. Both the Mom and Anna Comnena decided they were going to murder John. He was a winey child and disobedient so his mother did not like him. Anna tried pouring venom to instantly kill him in his wine glass but he saw and both her and her mother were exiled to different covenants with nuns. They lived a happy life. There was also her slave Sophia, a captured Turk, who became her long time friend and even provided comfort in these places for her.Historical Review:This book to me was pretty accurate with history. Of course there was actually an Anna Comnena, who lived in the royal family of the Byzantine Empire and she and her family lived during the first crusade ("Holy War"). Her father did actually come to power because of his great militarily strength. After the death of her father upon return from the war, she and her mother actually did try to kill John when he came into power, but as soon as John was born they admitted him to be the heir. Both her and her mother were actually exiled to peaceful covenants like the book had presented. The book did make up how they attempted to assassinated John, because there was no evidence if what had actually happened. Her grandmother was real but there was nothing to say that she was necessarily a bad person. Also Sophia and Simone were not real.My opinion about this book:This book seemed like it was interesting if it would have had more detail but I feel like they should have made the killing scene more interesting. A friend told me about this book and made it seem like it was amazing so maybe I just had higher expectations and I thought there would be more violence then there was exhibited. Other then that I thought it was a good story and plot and all the characters were very dynamic. Reasons for you to read this book:If you want to know more about the dark ages or Byzantine empire then I would definitely suggest reading this book. Other then that I would not suggest reading this book, it didn't really do anything spectacular for me but I do have to say it was a very easy read book. It only took me 2 1/2 hours to read it.

  • Jules Novakovich
    2019-02-25 03:24

    In the book Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett Anna Comnenus is a young girl that has the heir to her father’s throne who is the emperor of Byzantium. She is supposed to marry a man named Constantine Ducas so the Ducas and Comnenus family can come together. She has a younger sister named Maria and eventually a younger brother named John. Anna’s grandma tries to tell Anna’s father how to run the empire and Anna’s mother and grandmother don’t get along. Anna’s grandmother begins teaching Anna what she’ll need to know when she becomes empress which makes Anna’s mother upset. Anna grows up to hate John, her younger brother and while their father is away at battle he gets on the family’s bad side until he comes back. Anna threatens John and then John ends up telling their father who decides to make John his heir to the thrown instead. After their father dies from sickness, Anna’s mother wants John dead; her own son. She comes to Anna to tell her, but Anna wants to kill him instead, but when her teacher finds out he tells so that Anna won’t be put to death. Before Anna could slip the poison in John’s drink she is arrested. Anna and her mother are sent to different convents where they must live the rest of their lives as nuns. Anna and the family included are real, but some are left out. Also, the battles her father went to in the book were real battles with the Turks. Her and her mother did try to assassinate John and were sent to different convents. Anna did actually write a book about her father like it says in the book. Anna’s influential teacher and maid were made up also. In the book Anna’s first fiance died and became engaged to another man which she actually did marry and have children with. I really enjoyed the book and found it interesting. There wasn’t a whole lot of suspense or anything, but you want to know what happens and want to get to know Anna. In the beginning of the book it starts in the convent where she tells her story of how and why she got there which is a suspense of its own. I feel like being a girl also made it more interesting and made it possible to connect with Anna and get to know her more. Also, learning how they lived and their culture was interesting because its so much different now. This would be a fun book to read just for fun. It’s not like an ordinary book because it is based on a true story and you learn a thing or two about that time. Once you start to read it you probably won’t put it down for awhile and when it ends you’ll want to know more. It’s probably one of the best books I’ve read and the fact that it was historical is surprising considering how much I liked it. If you do read it, you won’t regret it at all.