The purple shroud by Stella Duffy – 2012

Purple ShroudThe Purple Shroud is the continuation of the story of Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore. Theodora ends on a high, with Theodora having risen from humble origins to be the Byzantine Empress in Constantinople alongside her husband Justinian. The Purple Shroud continues the same lavish handling of the political and religious conflicts of the time, but this novel is darker – with riots, wars and pestilence ravaging Theodora’s world. Duffy does a great job of portraying Theodora’s disenchantment with her ‘people’, who destroy her city during the Nika riots – seeming to abandon ‘Theodora from the Brothel”. The novel once again is well researched – and the role Theodora plays in helping Justinian navigate through treacherous times is lovingly portrayed. The purple shroud is a much more confined book than Theodora, but I was very moved at the end – when this fabulous portrayal of an interesting historical figure came to an end.

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