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Extended Audio Sample Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore: A Novel Audiobook, by Stella Duffy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (469 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stella Duffy Narrator: Davina Porter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9781101484357
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Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety—while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry. So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church? Award-winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the life and times of a woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world’s most powerful empires. Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore is a sexy, captivating novel that resurrects an extraordinary, little-known figure from the dusty pages of history.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 2/16/2014

    " Historical fiction? Theodora was a figure who I knew nothing about who rose to prominence in Constantinopale, first as an actress, accompanying that role as a whore, and then through penitence, became suitable to be married and became the empress. It's a fascinating story of a person but more a period of time when things were so changeable. The writing isn't always enthralling but the story that's told truly is captivating as is the main character. The era this book is set in is so different than today and to read a story of a woman navigating through the times, on her own more or less, dictated more by the times rather than her own will, is truly amazing. Theodora is an enlightened character whose sheer will and personality drove her further than most women of her era. It was delightful to learn of her and read about her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Isabel Vazquez | 2/14/2014

    " The show must go on for Theodora of Constantinople. She was an Actress, Empress, Whore. Her story must be told, and Stella Duffy made it come to life in this compelling novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 2/13/2014

    " I know I've read good historical fiction when I want to find out more. And Now I want to read more about Theodora! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara | 2/11/2014

    " It took me a little while to really enjoy this novel, but after about 100 pages it just clicked with me and from then on I loved it. Duffy has quite a detached narrative style, but then a character like Theodora, who rises from poverty to empress, would have to be a tough cookie. I found myself warming to her spirit and intelligence over time rather than being manipulated emotionally by a Cinderella story. I have no idea how historically accurate it is, but it certainly made the ancient Roman empire alive for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordanka Mitkova | 2/10/2014

    " Amazing, impressive and really interesting book as I expected!I highly recommend it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johanne | 2/5/2014

    " Excellent. This book takes the vaguendetails we have for the Byzantine Empress Theodora and turns her into a flesh & blood heroine. The basic details of her life including her time as an actress / prostitute are historically accurate and Stella Duffy manages to create an engaging heroine with some good lines. Only 4 stars because I think that it could have been a more substantial book...ut at least I have the purple shroud to look forward to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/29/2014

    " This was pretty good. Sometimes confusing but well written. Reminded me of my Greek history. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heidi | 1/19/2014

    " There is a great story there, but I had to keep editing her long, meandering sentences in my head so it was hard to go forward. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Audra (Unabridged Chick) | 1/18/2014

    " Interesting enough premise but awkward writing -- a bit stuffy and bloated. While I was reading, I was engaged enough but every time I put it down, I couldn't find the motivation to pick it back up. Might give it a try again, someday. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Truscee | 1/6/2014

    " I really enjoyed it. I know some critics called it dry, but what is historical fiction without the history? Looking forward to reading the sequel, The Purple Shroud. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 12/31/2013

    " One of those books that make you glad to live in this day and age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 12/24/2013

    " Very interesting stuff, I loved reading about an era in history, and characters, with whom I'm not at all familiar. Looking forward to Duffy's Purple Shroud, the sequel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beverly J. | 11/12/2013

    " Sigh, I was so excited to read this book. However, halfway thru I felt like it was just plodding along. Have no idea what happened here but something failed horribly. I had to force myself to finish it. Disappointed is an understatement. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcella Curry | 10/12/2013

    " Lively imagining of the life of Theodora. She's a fascinating character & Duffy brings her to life. The end of the story dragged along for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jess McCabe | 4/26/2012

    " Disappointing. The subject matter is genuinely interesting, but the book read like 300-odd pages of exposition. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 3/8/2012

    " Historical Fiction that has a lot of fiction and not much history. Davina Porter is the best thing about this book but in the end I really didn't care about the characters "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat Stearman | 1/22/2012

    " Seem to have spent a fair amount of time in this era and part of the world recently, what with this one and the Kate Quinn novels. Excellent! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dara | 10/23/2011

    " Entertaining historical novel following the career of Empress Theoodora. Accounts of her sexual appetites and spritiual conversion feel a bit overdone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dominique | 10/23/2011

    " Not only was this fantastic reading about Theodora's early life it was also very interesting to learn more about the early Christian Church.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kara | 10/22/2011

    " I liked the story the author was telling, but the way that they used single quotes instead of double distracted me so much I kept falling out of the story. I found it compelling and fascinating, but would have liked it better if it would have been formatted normally. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bobbie | 8/7/2011

    " It is tricky to turn biography, even imagined biography, into page-turning story, and this doesn't succeed, largely because so much of it is 'told' after the event, not shown and dramatised as it is happening. "

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About the Narrator

Davina Porter has been enthralling listeners for over twenty-five years with her ability to mine the psychological depths of the characters she reads and bring them convincingly to life. In 2006, she won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Female Narration and in 2004 for Best Inspirational Literature Narration.She has been honored as an AudioFile Golden Voice and has won nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she has appeared on stage at the Vineyard Playhouse and The Square One Theater, among others.