Updated: Jan 27
You may have noticed that our favorite author, Lynne Hill-Clark, has a passion for
writing about vampires and other mythical creatures, however, it may come as a
shock to find out she’s a history buff too!
So much so that she has included several events, places and real-life figures from
European History into her books. Most notably, is her storyline on Vlad the Impaler, the original inspiration for Dracula. Her 2nd book, Of Princes and Dragons, tells an alternate story of this infamous character. It outlines many actual historical events and people.
Many of Lynne’s readers love the historical setting in the Lords and Commoners Trilogy. With the setting in Medieval Europe, readers are taken on a ride through the demise of
the Byzantine Empire as they follow the main characters on their quest to save
mankind from vampire domination.
If you’re looking for more historical fiction, which leaves out the fantasy, then Lynne
has some great recommendations for you below. Check them out!
Theodora: From Lady of the night to Empress of the most powerful empire.
The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton
Goodness. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It made me cry and laugh and fall in love — with a woman! To be as lovely and intelligent and
perhaps most of all as STRONG as Theodora….
This is the ultimate real life rags-to-riches story — Pretty Woman but this actually happened. The first part of Theodora’s life was tragic but after she gets through her wild youth, she goes on to accomplish
many great things!
I knew there was a good reason to include this amazing historical figure in my novels,
The Lords and Commoners series. Although she played a minor role in my stories, Stephanie puts her in the spotlight and brings her to life in the best
The Secret History was superbly written. You're right there with Theodora the entire time — through all the ups and downs (and there are a lot of downs). You feel like you’re in
early Byzantium living her crazy, yet amazing life. Things got better for
Theodora as she matured. However, her life was always complicated. The
betrayals are many and from all sides, including Theodora’s.
There was never a dull moment. I hate to use the cliché but this is a MUST READ!
Mild. She was a prostitute in her youth but the sex was not graphic. It’s largely left up to the
Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy
This author did her research (as Stephanie did). This book goes into more detail about the different religious beliefs and the politics of the time. It ends shortly after
Theodora is crowned Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire (later known as Byzantium). This book was largely told (not shown) and on several occasions it read like a history book.
I grew to like this Theodora, she was more ambitious, self-serving and less beautiful than Stephanie’s Theodora but no less intelligent. So if you want to know more
of the history of this time while getting an entertaining story in between, then check out this book.
These two books left me wondering about the real Theodora. We know so little about her. Many historical accounts say it was her beauty that caught the future Emperor Justinian's eye. But in this novel he was a rather a-sexual figure, consumed
with work and he liked Theodora for her sharp mind and companionship. They were
largely just friends. The idea that they were to produce an heir to the throne
was an afterthought or a duty which was a refreshing take. Less sex in her
later life might have been a nice change for her, she got enough of that in her
youth (a lifetime’s worth, no doubt).
But I really want to know....
Was Theodora a good mother? In this novel she was an entirely neglectful parent,
leaving her daughter to be raised solely by others. This was a very likely
scenario for a young whore. A child would have sorely inhibited her early
How many kids did she really have? Was it Justinian or Theodora who couldn’t conceive?
Was she a truly compassionate person or only an overly ambitious woman? Or both?
Why did Justinian marry her? He had to go through a lot of trouble to do so, i.e.
he had to convince his uncle (the Emperor at the time) to change Roman law?
What was the true nature of their relationship? Was it true love or a did she marry only
I really wish I could go back in time and get to know this true heroine.
One thing was for sure, Justinian saw in Theodora a strength that he didn’t possess
himself. He must have known early on that his rein would need her. That’s why
he went through such trouble to marry her. And of course he was right, Theodora
single handedly saved his throne. When the capital was under siege and Justinian’s
advisers convinced him to flee the city, it was Theodora who delivered her
famous impassioned speech which convinced Justinian to stay and fight. As it
turned out this was the right choice for his reign.
Theodora... she was not born in royal purple (far from it) but she died in purple.
Why are Alternate History Books so Appealing?
Well, I think it's because readers get a mixture of historical facts and a fun action-packed adventure. Alternate histories make history fun and entertaining rather than a boring
When I was writing the Lords and Commoners Trilogy, I did a ton of research on the Byzantine Empire, the Black Plague, and famous historical figures from that era, such as Vlad and Theodora. I really wanted my audience to feel what it would be like to live in a different
time all from the comfort of home.
I also believe that there are many lessons that history can teach us and that an alternate history tale can relay important themes in entertaining ways. For instance, figures such as Empress Irene, the first woman to rule in her own right in Byzantine history, show us that women leaders can be equally as powerful and ruthless as their male counterparts. This a theme that I have intertwined in my newest series, A Woman's World (coming summer 2021!).
Looking for a New Adventure in this Exotic Time Period?
So there you have it, two more great reads from our favorite author. These books will satisfy both the history nerd and adventurer in you as it did for Lynne.
With a Doctorate of Psychology under her belt, Lynne is no stranger to research. She
has spent much time looking into historical events and themes to enrich her stories. Her historical action fantasy series called The Lords and Commoners, also tells a
rags-to-riches story that takes place during the fall of the Byzantine Empire.
Lynne’s series has been praised for its fresh new take on an often forgotten time after
the collapse of the longest lasting medieval power in history.
So if you’re looking to enjoy a fast-paced, fantastical adventure in a time period that has
influenced cultures around the world, then grab a copy of Lynne’s The Lords and Commoners trilogy here.