Monday, April 7, 2014

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: The Eagle and the Swan by Carol Strickland

Tour Hashtag: #EagleandtheSwanTour

Publication Date: November 7, 2013
Erudition Digital


For 1,500 years she has been cruelly maligned by history. Labelled as corrupt, immoral and sexually depraved by the sixth-century historian Procopius in his notorious Secret History, the Byzantine Empress Theodora was condemned to be judged a degenerate harlot by posterity. Until now. Due to a conviction that its contents would only be understood by generations of the distant future, a manuscript that has remained unopened for a millennium and a half is about to set the record straight. It will unravel the deepest secrets of a captivating and charismatic courtesan, her unlikely romance with an Emperor, and her rise to power and influence that would outshine even Cleopatra. This historical novel traces the love affairs, travails, machinations, scandals and triumphs of a cast of real characters who inhabit an Empire at its glorious and fragile peak. It’s the tale of a dazzling civilization in its Golden Age; one which, despite plague, earthquakes and marauding Huns, would lay the foundation for modern Europe as we know it.

Praise for The Eagle and the Swan

“It’s a book rife with detail and passion. If you like historical fiction this book hits on all cylinders. The level of detail in terms of prose and historical relevance is engaging. And THEN the plot is what’s moving. The love and lust combined with a compelling story, taking on universal themes from a cross section of history, makes for a gripping work.”

“Carol Strickland has written a masterful epic. It is beautifully crafted and impossible to put down.”

“Beautiful storytelling. Fascinating and well-developed characters. What an interesting time in history! This book was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The Eagle and the Swan is a must-read!”

My Review:

The Eagle and the Swan is an absolutely fantastic work of historical fiction. It caught and held my attention from start to finish. I loved how the narrator told the story as Theodora and Justinian’s biographer. It was really interesting to set it up that way, and it really helped with the overall flow of the novel. The author’s writing style is amazing, and the character’s were well written. I really felt as though I knew Justinian and Theodora as I read their stories. The time period is also brought life with great imagery for me. I was able to picture the green versus blue competition, the hippodrome, the bribes used in elections, etc. Everything was so well described but without bogging the reader down with unnecessary details.

The connection between Justinian and Theodora is perfect, and as a reader you want them to be together and stay together. You can tell how much they love each other, and you really get an idea of what caused Justinian to go against so many people in order to marry her. They had a passionate love that the author really brought to life in this novel.

I would, without a doubt, recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction. I think that even readers who preferred a different type of genre would enjoy this novel as well. It’s a passionate love story that is really brought to life for the reader, and definitely worth sitting down to read.

I give this novel a FIVE out of FIVE stars.

Buy the eBook

About the Author

Carol Strickland is an art and architecture critic, prize-winning screenwriter, and journalist who’s contributed to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Art in America magazine. A Ph.D. in literature and former writing professor, she’s author of The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in the History of Art from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (which has sold more than 400,000 copies in multiple editions and translations), The Annotated Arch: A Crash Course in the History of Architecture, The Illustrated Timeline of Art History, The Illustrated Timeline of Western Literature, and monographs on individual artists.

While writing on masterpieces of Byzantine art (glorious mosaics in Ravenna, Italy featuring Theodora and Justinian and the monumental Hagia Sophia basilica in Istanbul built by Justinian), Strickland became fascinated by the woman who began life as a swan dancer and her husband, an ex-swineherd.

Knowing how maligned they were by the official historian of their era Procopius, who wrote a slanderous “Secret History” vilifying them, Strickland decided to let the audacious Theodora tell her story. She emerges not just as the bear-keeper’s daughter and a former prostitute who ensnared the man who became emperor, but as a courageous crusader against the abuse of women, children, and free-thinkers.

Author Links

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Thursday, March 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, March 17
Review at Reading the Ages

Wednesday, March 19
Review at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, March 20
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Monday, March 24
Interview & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, March 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 26
Guest Post at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Monday, March 31
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, April 2
Review at Book Drunkard

Friday, April 4
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 7
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Thursday, April 10
Review & Giveaway at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, April 11
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, April 14
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, April 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, April 16
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 17
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection


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  1. I love the beautiful cover! Mosaics always catch my eye. Byzantine history is one era I would like to know more about. Thank you for the giveaway.

  2. I know very little of Byzantine history. This would be a good start to learn more.

  3. I enjoy reading historical fictions, so this book definitely will be a good 'add' to my Wish List!!!

  4. You could be eligible to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.