Far Away Bird Book Review & Women's History Month Spotlight

I love historical fiction--and have discovered a wonderful novel about Byzantine Empress Theodora to share just in time for Women's History Month!  Check out Far Away Bird, read my thoughts and learn about the author in today's book review feature!
Cover_artist_ George Frei at
 Historical Fiction
Release Date:February 6, 2020
Paperback:394 pages
Publisher: Silent Music Press LLC (February 6, 2020)

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About the Book

Inspired by true events (historical fiction), Far Away Bird delves into the complex mind of Byzantine Empress Theodora. This intimate account deftly follows her rise from actress-prostitute in Constantinople's red-light district to the throne of the Byzantine Empire. 

Her salacious past has left historians blushing and uncomfortable.
Tales of her shamelessness have survived for centuries, and yet her accomplishments as an empress are unparalleled. Theodora goes on to influence sweeping reforms that result in some of the first-ever Western laws granting women freedom and protection. More than a millennium before the women's rights movement, Theodora, alone, took on a world superpower and succeeded. Far Away Bird goes where history classrooms fear to tread in hopes that Theodora can finally take her seat among the greatest women in history.

Theodora seems impossible--yet her transcendence teaches us that society can't tell us who we are deep down. Before there was a legendary empress, there was a conflicted young woman from the lower classes.

Praise for the Novel

“…elegantly written historical tale in which [Burton] effortlessly weaves sweeping emotion and fine detail…”— Kirkus Reviews (Recommended)

My Review

Far Away Bird Transports Readers to Another Time and Place--and They Won't Want to Leave.  I will admit--I wasn't sure that I had the attention span to cross centuries and continents to read about an Empress that I didn't really remember learning about in history classes.   However, within a few paragraphs, the author began to transport me to Theodora's life and times in such a vivid way that I became so immersed in the story--and the history and the significance of the characters--that I it all felt very real and very powerful.  In fact, I enjoyed the author's settings and dialogue and character development so much that I became so attached to the world and the characters that I wanted to stay with them and read more!

Far Away Bird Offers Strong Female Characters Far Ahead of their Time.  I enjoyed watching Theodora grow and mature into a woman--and a leader.  While there is a focus on the sexualization of women and the depravity of the time--along with Theodora's role as a prostitute--that does not dominate the novel.  The author shows the characters' strengths and allows them to grow into their spaces.  While the characters are strong--the novel may not be one to share with younger readers due to its PG-13 content. 

Would I recommend Far Away Bird by Douglas Burton?  I enjoyed the author's writing style, character development and story line flow for this novel.  In spite of the fact that the story centers in such a far away time--he brought very real, well researched settings and characters to a well developed story line that never dulled.  I would certainly recommend Far Away Bird for readers interested in historical women--who we may not fully know from our history books.

Buy the Book

About the Author

Douglas Alan Burton’s work depicts heroic figures and their deeper connection to the human experience. Douglas’ blog readers enjoy his commentary about heroes, heroines, and villains in pop culture with an unexpected and refreshing perspective. He grew up in what he describes as “the heroic boyhood culture of late Generation X” that has gone mainstream around the world. He also shares strategies with fellow writers for writing compelling heroic characters in fiction.

Douglas recently began outlining a breakthrough storytelling model that reveals a fascinating “heroine-centric” model for story structure he calls “The Heroine’s Labyrinth.” He believes the heroine is a powerful archetype that has widespread cultural significance and deserves more attention. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and two little boys. 




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