Anna Comnena has every reason to feel entitled. She's a princess, her father's firstborn and his chosen successor. Someday she expects to sit on the throne and rule the vast Byzantine Empire. So the birth of a baby brother doesn't perturb her. Nor do the "barbarians" from foreign lands, who think only a son should ascend to power. Anna is as dismissive of them as are her father and his most trusted adviser--his mother, a manipulative woman with whom Anna studies the art of diplomacy. Anna relishes her lessons, proving adept at checkmating opponents in swift moves of mental chess. But as she matures into a young woman, her arrogance and intelligence threaten her grandmother. Anna will be no one's puppet. Almost overnight, Anna sees her dreams of power wrenched from her and bestowed on her little brother. Bitter at the betrayal, Anna waits to avenge herself, and to seize what is rightfully hers.
"Set in an exotic time and place, [this story] is a fascinating mix of history, mystery, and intrigue."--The Horn Book Magazine
"The Byzantine Empire is often neglected in studies of the Middle Ages. This exciting read will help change that oversight."-Booklist, Boxed Review
"Although separated from contemporary readers by foreign custom, social rank, and almost a millennium of Western history, Barrett's protagonist nonetheless commands YA empathy."--The Bulletin, Recommended