Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Eagle's Daughter - Judith Tarr

The Eagle's Daughter
Judith Tarr
Tor Books
Copyright Date: 1996

The blurb:
Here in lush detail is the powerful story of the tenth-century Byzantine princess Theophano, who was sent to be the wife and Empress of Otto II, son of Otto the Great, the Holy Roman Emperor.

It is a long journey from the surviving Roman Empire in the East to the devastated Empire in the West. Theophano must apply all her Byzantine skills to truly become the Empress of the West, winning first her new husband's devotion, and then the love of her new people,

But when Otto II dies unexpectedly, laving the empire to his four-year-old son, the Empress Theophano must fight one of the greatest wars of succession of the Dark Ages. For Otto II's cousin, Henry of Burgandy, would have the Regency for himself and the Throne as well--if he can take them.

Another of Judith Tarr's stunning historical fiction novels. The Eagle's Daughter is straight historical fiction with no magic, as with King and Goddess. This time the book moves between tenth century Byzantium and the Ottonian Empire/Holy Roman Empire.

While in the author's note at the end, Tarr admits that she's condensed events a bit, the story is historically rich and gripping. The author has made use of a complex and fascinating era of history for this story: there's treachery, war, love, all the important things, as well as personal and interpersonal conflict.

I found Aspasia to be a fascinating character and true to the storyline, even though, unlike most of the others, she is a fictional construct. This is one of those books that's inclined to send me back to my textbooks to find out a bit more about the period.

I know this review is too short to be really much help, but at the same time I read The Eagle's Daughter I was writing frantically at my NaNoWriMo project, so this got pushed to the side a bit too long. Still, I really liked the book, and I'm going to have to keep an eye out for more of Tarr's historical fiction. I find I like it a bit better than her historical fantasy.

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