This week my books were taken from the Tapestry of Grace (TOG) reading list from year 2 unit 1 (just after the fall of Rome).
Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett was an interesting (and very easy) read that is inspired by the real Anna of Comnena (1083-1153).
Plot overview: As the firstborn, Anna is chosen to inherit her father’s throne and she is taught by her grandmother the rules of state and how to manipulate situations to her advantage. When Anna dares to cross her powerful grandmother she finds that she does not have the power she believed she had; her grandmother finds a way to have her younger brother designated as heir. Anna then bides her time until her father’s death. Between her mother and herself a plot is hatched to assasinate her brother so that Anna may claim the throne. The plan is thwarted in the end and Anna is banished to a convent.
Overall: This was an interesting enough tale, but I felt that the writing was uninspired. Also, this story is not quite true to the historical record – Anna is shown to be brilliant and her brother to be stupid, but historical records show that her brother’s reign was well regarded and that he forgave her many assasination attempts.
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen was the second book that I read this week and it was also a very easy read.
Plot overview: Buran is one daughter of seven that lives in Baghdad. Her father barely makes enough money for the family and everyone is concerned about what sort of marriages the girls will be forced to bear. Buran’s uncle has seven sons and always boasts about the riches that he will reap because of his being blessed with all boys. Buran decides that she will disguise herself as a boy and go out to make her family’s fortune. After her father suffers a devastating sickness he agress to Buran’s plan. Making use of her intellegince and diligence, Buran establishes a very successful business and also attracts Mahmud (crown prince) in the process. When Mahmud begins to suspect (and hope) that Buran is a female, she flees to her home with her new wealth. Buran sees that her sisters are well married and that her uncle’s sons have disgraced themselves. Mahmud eventually catches up with Buran and everyone is happy in the end.
Overall: I enjoyed this book immensely even though it has a fairly predictable plot. The author is a wonderful storyteller and this is a tale that will not be soon forgotten.