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Publisher's Summary

Where Theodora went, trouble followed....

In sixth-century Constantinople, one woman, Theodora, defied every convention and all the odds and rose from common theater tart to empress of a great kingdom - the most powerful woman the Roman Empire would ever know. The woman whose image was later immortalized in glittering mosaic was a scrappy, clever, conniving, flesh-and-blood woman full of sensuality and spirit whose real story is as surprising as any ever told....

After her father dies suddenly, Theodora and her sisters face starvation and a life 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 in a scandalous dramatization of her own invention. When her daring performance grants her a backdoor 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 thrives 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?

©2013 by Stephanie Thornton (P)2020 by Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Secret History

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I Couldn't Believe The Events Were Real

Great story and while I know this is fiction, its HISTORICAL fiction and many if the events are documented. Narrator wad good as well

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How very hard to sympathize with a narcissist

What a dreadful individual Empress Theodora was (as depicted in this novel). As it was written in the first person, the story even more impossible to appreciate. Seeing the world through a narcissist life is not a pleasant experience.
Theodora’s experiences were delivered without emotion. For instance, her relationship with her best friend was appallingly, and her descriptions of interactions with her were just statements of fact. Instances when Theodora was slapping, hitting, and thoughts of murdering her “dearest friend”, without any benefit of doubt, hardly makes a bonded relationship.
I found the characters flat and can’t say I was fond of any of them. But of course, they were seen through the eyes of a narcissist.
It was a book I had a hard time finishing. However, somehow I thought it might improve…..

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So Good!!!

I loved this book. It’s a book that you just get lost in. I’m so sad it’s over but I’ll listen to it again sometime. I’m off to listen to the author’s other books.

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What a woman!

The reader was quite evocative and added much to the experience. While many of the terms and names carried less meaning for me, as one with little exposure to this particular era and place, the thread of the story of a woman struggling to survive-and live as happily as she could- was never lost.
Neither the whore nor the virgin, but a woman of intelligence and loyalty, she now lives on -at least in my mind.
Thanks to the author!

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Fascinating, well-researched and written!

Excellent accounting of a great story. When I was still a girl, I read this tome of a book called, “Maia,” which was my first encounter with the Empress Theodora. So I was more or less familiar with her story. But this recounting was very poignant, made me cry at times, the emoticon and performance was that good. Highly recommend, it’s truly worth the time!