When Emperor Maxentius took the courtesan Callidora to his bed, her charm and beauty captured his heart and he fell hopelessly in love with her. Even though his entire culture recoiled, he married the woman who had begun life as a circus brat, spy and heretic, and he made her a partner in ruling the empire.
At one point, the Empire faced a rebellion that appeared unstoppable, Maxentius and his generals prepared to flee the raging mobs. But Callidora said the men could do what they wanted but she would not run. “If I must die," she said, "purple makes a good shroud.” The men were shamed into standing their ground and the Empire survived.
A historical fantasy inspired by the historical characters of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora, this is a grand, gorgeous, sweeping, utterly unforgettable vision of an already amazing tale.
“Rich world-building, compelling characters, complex politics and passionate intrigue in an alternate Byzantium: if you like Guy Gavriel Kay, you will love ‘Empress’. — Kari Sperring, author of “Living with Ghosts” and “The Grass King’s Concubine”