Read The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw Online


In the Fourth Century A.D., independent and determined young Charis is forbidden to become a doctor because she is a woman. Disguising herself as a eunuch she flees Ephesus for Alexandria, then the center of learning. There she apprentices to a Jewish doctor but eventually becomes drawn into Church politics and is forced once again to flee. She serves as an army doctor atIn the Fourth Century A.D., independent and determined young Charis is forbidden to become a doctor because she is a woman. Disguising herself as a eunuch she flees Ephesus for Alexandria, then the center of learning. There she apprentices to a Jewish doctor but eventually becomes drawn into Church politics and is forced once again to flee. She serves as an army doctor at a Roman outpost in Thrace until, kidnapped by barbarian Visigoths, she finds her destiny to heal and also to be a woman and a wife....

Title : The Beacon at Alexandria
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781569470107
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 376 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Beacon at Alexandria Reviews

  • Lee Anne
    2019-05-19 07:47

    *Do NOT read the synopsis on the back of the book/goodreads—gives away the entire story. Literally. The whole plot.* It’s been almost ten years since I read this book for the first time, and it still has a powerful hold on me. I can’t explain exactly why it is a favorite; sure, it has the bold and brave girl-who-disguises-herself-as-a-boy in order to do what she loves, but it’s so much more than that. Charis is one of those characters that I can’t help loving and rooting for, and her journey during the declining years of the Roman empire is both vivid, uplifting, and sad. Despite sounding like a modern heroine, she feels totally authentic, as do all the characters. In some ways she reminds me of Amelia Peabody, another favorite heroine of mine, but minus the tongue-in-cheek humor and over-the-top adventure. Charis’ story certainly has some over-the-top qualities to it (and even a little bit of humor), but it never veers into melodrama, and while her disregard for danger leaves her friends throwing up their hands in despair, the author has her face very real and complex situations, without any glib solutions. This is one of those novels that transcends genre, that is thoroughly enjoyable to read but also impossible to stop thinking about. It’s a rare book that will keep you up to 4 a.m. for a re-read.The plot: Charis is the daughter of a well-to-do Greek politician in Ephesus. Despite her interest in all things medical, she never imagines any life for herself other than that of dutiful wife. But when the malicious new governor Festinus accuses her father of treason, and then announces that he will marry her, she knows she has to real choice but to flee. Disguising herself as a eunuch (which makes the story a lot more believable than the typical girl-dressed-up-as-a-boy), she travels to Alexandria, where she hopes to study medicine at the famed university. But Charis quickly learns that eunuchs are almost as much of outsiders as women are, and she struggles to earn the right to study.And that is just the beginning: but to tell more of her story would be cheating you of the chance to experience it yourself. The simultaneous splendor, squalor, nobility, and corruption of the empire is presented in both beautiful and heartbreaking ways, and it is a love letter to that civilization as well as a meditation on living in a world that is falling apart.

  • Chrisl
    2019-05-12 06:54

    Top rank Bradshaw, a multiple re-read ... with a marginal review from someone at Kirkus. "KIRKUS REVIEWSolid but not particularly stirring historical, from the author of an Arthurian trilogy (concluded with In Winter's Shadow, 1982). In A.D. 371, Valens is Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople. Cowardly, chariot-race-loving Theodoros, a consul at Ephesus, is disconcerted to be accused of treachery by ugly, low-born Imperial agent Festinus: Valens, it seems, is taking seriously a prophesy which states that he will be replaced by one whose name begins with Theod--. Theodoros, of course, is wholly innocent, but during the investigation the sadistic Festinus becomes enamoured of Theodoros' beautiful daughter Charis; weakly, Theodoros agrees to the marriage. Horrified, Charis--who wants to be a doctor, a profession forbidden to women--rejects the vile Festinus and, with her brother Thorion's connivance, flees to Alexandria, center of the healing arts. There she becomes Chariton ""the eunuch,"" medical student and assistant to the skilled, humane, Jewish doctor Philon. Alexandria, however, is seething with religious strife, as the powerful, popular Bishop Athanasios continues to rebuff Imperial attempts to oust him; during an interview he divines Chariton's secret but agrees not to divulge it. And an Imperial spy, the handsome Goth Athanaric, is impressed when Chariton refuses a hefty bribe to inform on Athanasios. The latter, alas, eventually dies, and Alexandria is no longer safe for Chariton; she agrees to go to Thrace to serve as an army doctor. Here, among other complications, Chariton's career comes to a head: she kills a would-be rapist; she's reunited with brother Thorion, now an Imperial governor; eventually she's revealed as a woman, but continues to practice her art; and, Finally, Athanaric beholds the real Charis, and love blossoms. An appealing drama, with a vibrant, vital backdrop, agreeable characters, and steady plotting. But, unfortunately, this was a turbulent but rather anonymous epoch in Roman history, with a succession of unmemorable Emperors, a weary procession of invading barbarian hordes, and no famous historical figures that might help fix the period in readers' minds. So the result, while well above average, lacks the drawing power of big-name notoriety.Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1986Publisher: Houghton Mifflin"

  • Phil
    2019-05-13 06:50

    This is a novel about an aristocratic girl, Charis, in Ephesus around 380 AD. Her father wants to marry her to a crony of the Emperor Valens, who has been appointed governor of the province. Festinus is a cruel and sadistic man and to avoid the marriage Charis cuts her hair, disguises herself as a eunuch (changing her name to Chariton) and flees to Alexandria to study medicine. Chariton is a prodigy and becomes the personal physician to the Nicene bishop Anthanasius (lauded by Gibbon) and involved in the chaos that follows his death. Chariton is exiled to an obscure fort on the Danube frontier and comes to be trusted by Fritigern, the Visigoth chieftain who rules north of the river. She also nurses a secret passion for Fritigern's cousin, Athanaric, who serves as a special agent of the Roman Emperor.When the Visigoths are allowed to cross the Danube to flee the onslaught of the Huns corrupt Roman officials cause them to revolt and Chariton falls into their hands, where she is revealed to be a woman. After the battle of Adrianople, which ends in the total destruction of the Roman army in the Balkans and the death of the Emperor Valens, Athanaric rescues Charis from the Goths and they live happily ever after. A great love story, a great historical novel. This book caused me to become interested in this period of Roman history. Bradshaw brings it vividly to life. She's a great storyteller and a good, solid, unpretentious writer.

  • ΔΕΣΠΟΙΝΑ Ντρέκη
    2019-04-25 12:52

    Εξαιρετικό-μαγευτικό ιστορικό βιβλίο με υπέροχη γραφή και με μια υπέροχη μετάφραση. Από την αρχή μέχρι το τέλος η ανάγνωσή του ήταν απόλαυση. Η συγγραφέας εκτός από εξαιρετική ιστορικός είναι και μια έξοχη συγγραφέας. Η ηρωίδα της ζωνατνεύει μέσα από τις σελίδες του βιβλίου, καθώς και η Αλεξάνρεια, η Έφεσος, η Θράκη, οι μάχες, τα παλάτια. Κάθε φορά που διάβαζα ένιωθα τη μυρωδιά των ιατρικών βοτάνων και νόμιζα ότι θα εμφανισθεί ξαφνικά μια μεταμφιεσμένη σε ευνούχο κοπέλα με την οποία θα ανέλυα την πολιτική και θρησκευτική κατάσταση της Ρωμαϊκής Αυτοκρατορίας τον 4ο μ.Χ αιώνα, η οποία βρίσκεται στη δύση της. Επίσης θα με δίδασκε τις μεθόδους ιατρικής εκείνη την εποχή. Και φυσικά έχουμε και εναν έρωτα που γεννιέται μέσα στην μάχη. Ένα είναι σίγουρο μετά απο την ανάγνωση αυτού του βιβλίου: Θα αναζητήσω κι άλλα δικά της. Αν το πετύχεται κάπου αυτό το βιβλίο σας προτρέπω να το πάρετε. Δεν θα το μετανιώσετε."Έφεσος, 4ος αι. μ.Χ. Η νεαρή Χάρις, κόρη του ύπατου Θεοδώρου από την Έφεσο, εξαφανίζεται ένα μήνα πριν τον υποχρεωτικό γάμο της με ένα υψηλά ιστάμενο πολιτικό πρόσωπο.Αλεξάνδρεια, 4ος αι. μ.Χ. Ο νεαρός Χαρίτωνας έχει μόλις φτάσει στην πόλη για να μάθει την ιατρική τέχνη. Παρά το μυστήριο που καλύπτει το παρελθόν του, ο Χαρίτωνας θα γίνει ο προσωπικός γιατρός του Αρχιεπισκόπου Αθανασίου, αλλά θα εμπλακεί και στις πολιτικές μηχανορραφίες της Αλεξάνδρειας, εξαιτίας των οποίων θα φυλακιστεί, θα διωχτεί και θα αναγκαστεί να καταφύγει στη Θράκη για να ασκήσει την ιατρική τέχνη.Στη Θράκη όμως θα πρέπει να αντιμετωπίσει κάτι περισσότερο από τη σκληρότητα των στρατιωτικών νοσοκομείων: την αποκάλυψη της αληθινής του ταυτότητας και τις τραγικές συνέπειες για τη ζωή και την καριέρα του. Ο νεαρός Χαρίτωνας δεν είναι άλλος από τη Χάρις, κόρη του Θεόδωρου από την Έφεσο.Σε έναν αιώνα μισαλλοδοξίας και βίαιων πολέμων, η Χάρις κατάφερε να στηριχτεί σε κάτι περισσότερο από την εμφάνιση της: την ικανότητα και την τέχνη της ως γιατρός."

  • Emmy
    2019-05-09 11:00

    Really wonderfully done. The last line in the epilogue literally left me with chills: "the Fall of Rome was, for the west anyway, 'the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind."' Coming on the heels of this story, it was really excellently done. I mourned the empire's demise with the characters. I felt powerfully for many of the characters throughout the story. Particularly in the second half of the book, I was literally heartbroken for Charis at the idea of how unfair it was that she could not be both woman and doctor. Every injustice thrown at her had my hand itching to smack the person who was telling her no. On top of the good story, it is clear that this author knows this period. This book is chock full of history and I can honestly saw that I learneda lot about the 4th century Roman Empire. In Alexandria she shows you about the struggle between sects of Christianity and Judaism and in Thrace she demonstrates how relations developed between Rome and the Visigoths. It was all fascinating and educational. Some of the information did bog down the story once or twice, but nothing too bad. Overall, really excellently done. "Love is certainly a great god, to make two intelligent people look so foolish."

  • Rachel Neumeier
    2019-05-21 11:50

    Gillian Bradshaw is my favorite historical author, hands down, and this is my favorite book of hers. It's one of the books I reach for when I need something to read for just a minute -- and one of the ones I usually wind up reading straight through (again) because I can't leave it unfinished.Charis is a wonderful character; the world building is exquisite; the romance is handled subtly and beautifully and doesn't take over the book -- not only did I just re-read BEACON for the fifth or sixth time over the past few days, but I know I'll come back to it many times in the future.

  • Savannah
    2019-05-15 07:01

    It is very difficult to make a self-determined female in an historical setting not seem, at best, oxymoronic and at worst a puppet of modern sensibilities. Somehow, Gillian Bradshaw manages it in this eloquent, slow-moving yet motivating read about a woman who studies medicine in an otherwise restrictive world, eventually needing to disguise herself as a eunuch in order to continue practicing, while fighting an attraction to a male who may or may not understand her.

  • Christina
    2019-05-20 08:47

    Чудесен - макар и с леко старомодно усещане - приключенски роман с медицински мотиви (за мое съжаление доста слабо застъпени, очевидно авторката не се е впускала в много проучвания по темата и до втръсване повтаря само няколко билки). Интересен исторически период и реално голяма част от действието се развива по нашите земи в Тракия, но няколко века преди създаване на българската държава.Харис е силен женски образ (и много хубаво име, всъщност - на старогръцки означава радост, това не го пише в книгата :) Ако не бях Хедра, би ми харесало като ник) - и самата й история е достоверно звучаща, т.е. не е прекомерно фантастична и би могла да се случи при добро стечение на обстоятелствата. Вероятно е повлияна от истинската история за един военен лекар от 19 в, за който след смъртта му се установило, че всъщност е жена, при това е раждала в някой момент :)Беше ми интересно и четох с удоволствие, което не ми се случва чак толкова често - историята като усещане доста прилича на моя любим епос The Physician на Ноа Гордън.Краят беше реалистичен, с нотка на хепиенд за главните герои, но не и за империята - и с доста отворен финал, което също беше приятно изключение от правилата.

  • Riccarla Roman
    2019-05-24 14:45

    I love history, but lately I've been reading a lot of Tudor England books. This book was completely different in time period, but the desire for sex, money, and power was still the same.Charis of Ephesus is the daughter of a prominent citizen of Ephesus. Her brother wants to be a lawyer and she wants to be a physician. Of course, this is not possible in Ephesus a of centuries after Christ.The new governor accuses her father of possibly trying to overthrow the Emperor. Her quick thinking helps her father but brings her to the attention of the governor. He makes an inappropriate assault and offers marriage. This guy is so foul that Charis is willing to disguise herself as a eunuch and sail to Alexandria, the center of knowledge and culture in the known world. She hopes to study medicine and apprentice with an established doctor. Due to ancient prejudices about eunuchs, she is rejected by all the leading men of medicine. Finally, Philon, a Jewish doctor, agrees to teach her.The book follows her journey from apprentice to doctor as she tries to avoid the political and religious conflicts of the day along with keeping her true gender a secret.This was a very complex time - unrest in the Roman Empire as it was losing its empire, upheaval in the Church as all faiths are persecuted by someone, and urgency to improve medicine as people on all sides of any issue find themselves facing illness in a time period where the slightest remark could cost you your head (or other body parts).This a great albeit slow read. I had to read slower than usual in order to understand what was being done and how it affected the charactiers. Charis is fascinating and her struggles resonate with our modern world. There are two more books in the series and I can't wait to read them.

  • Amy
    2019-05-02 11:41

    I finally finished "The Beacon at Alexandria" by Gillian Bradshaw. It took me a really long time to read this book. I liked it fairly well, but it was long. It is only 350 pages long, but it felt like forever. Basically it is a story of a young woman in Ephesus during the third century who runs away from her about to be arranged marriage and goes to Alexandria to become a doctor. The rest of the story is her career and attempts to remain disguised as a eunuch. The idea was a good one, but I found the author's writing style to be tedious. Even the parts of the story that should have been exciting were written in a way that made them not exciting. I also had a hard time following the history and the Roman names made it difficult for me to read as quickly as I normally do. I had to stop and think about the name every time and that slowed down the progress of the story for me. I was also disappointed by the ending of the story. I liked the idea and the premise of the book, but the writing style was not exciting enough to make the book a truly enjoyable read.

  • Celeste
    2019-05-03 09:46

    *NO LEAN LA SINOPSIS de la novela ! es un completo spoiler.*Caris de Éfeso quiere aprender medicina, a pesar de las dificultades del siglo IV, ella hará lo imposible hasta cumplir con su deseo de aprender y ser médico.Amé la novela!♥ espero que la otras novelas de Gillian Bradshaw sean tan buenas como el faro de Alejandría! no es una novela centrada en romances, aunque si hay alguito por allí ;) .Recomendada a todas las personas que le guste leer ficción- histórica.

  • Rhonda
    2019-05-04 07:51

    I think I've found another excellent author. Excellent! 5+ stars.

  • Chris
    2019-04-24 13:48

    Enjoyable read about a young woman in the 4thC AD who flees an impending marriage to a cruel noble by disguising herself as a eunuch and heads to Alexandria, Egypt to study medicine, something that has been her secret desire. Despite many scoffers, she turns out to be an intelligent, quick study and gifted healer who has luckily been taken on as an apprentice by wise & compassionate Jewish physician. She comes to the attention of the current archbishop & is soon embroiled in religious rifts and must flee again. This time she/he becomes an army doctor in a remote outpost of Thrace.I always enjoy stories of girls & women who buck at the restraints of their time and/or culture and this did not disappoint. Some situations seemed contrived, the ending too pat and really for all those years she could hide the fact she was a female?!!! But I felt immersed in the history, was engaged by many of the characters & storyline. So thumbs up to this!

  • Rebecca
    2019-05-23 08:43

    Really enjoyed this! I can tell the author really did her research. The world is so detailed and vivid and consistent. Charis is a great heroine. I called a few of the plot points, but I think the strength of this book is in her growth. The way she seizes her life for herself is admirable, and as she is thrown into precarious/dangerous and new situations, her inner strength and conviction shine through, and it's wonderful to read. Loved reading about her.

  • Gwendolyn
    2019-05-07 08:44

    I had very high expectations of this book because of the 4-5 stars rating, but I was not so impressed because the ending was predictable and the writing style was flat. It was an exciting idea though, about a woman practicing medicine in ancient Alexandria.

  • Natalie
    2019-05-14 06:40

    Charis is a wealthy young maiden of Ephesus, she is lovely, intelligent and altogether obsessed with the art of medicine. With the help of her brother and her old nursemaid, she flees marriage with a brutal man who accused her father of treason and tortured her friends. For her, it turns out to be the chance of a lifetime. She disguises herself as a eunuch and travels to Alexandria, the world's capitol of medicinal knowledge. Apprenticed to a true Hippocratic, she enters a world of wounds, herbs, illness and dissections, and she found that practicing the art of healing was what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.Eventually, she found herself working as the personal physician to Athanasios in his last months of life. When he passes away, Alexandria is thrown into turmoil. There are riots in the street and Charis, called Chariton, is right in the middle of it all.Gillian Bradshaw is brilliant when it comes to capturing the feel of ancient times. Athanasios is fascinating, as is the theological war that was waged between the Arian and Nicene factions within the Christian church of the time.I confess that I have always found stories in which a girl disguises herself as a boy to be immensely entertaining, and this one was more realistic in the sense that she was pretending to be a eunuch rather than an entirely male person. I always love the moment of dawning comprehension when someone inevitably discovers the truth, especially if it is the person the lady is in love with. :) There are several parallels to Twelfth Night in this novel, and as a lover of Shakespeare I liked that. (There is a character named Duke Sebastianus who came from Illyria, as well as a few scenes with clear Shakespearean influence. However, the story and romance are completely different.)This book also has a couple of rather different and unusual marriage proposals, some more welcome than others. :)

  • Jennie
    2019-05-04 14:38

    "...students of the period can still feel that the Fall of Rome was, for the West anyway, the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind."This is my all-time favorite book. So much was lost in the Fall of Rome. This book takes place towards the beginning of the end. It all starts with the social normalcy of a household, and the women in that household. This book has lots of nasty stuff relevant to the time period. The brutality of slavery, sexism, violence, torture, and corrupt politics... but it also has enlightenment, intelligence, passion, knowledge, and culture. And of course, little to no romance. *thumbs up* This is a story about a woman that could not live the life her father would've sold her into. She lives out the life she wants for herself, though at great personal sacrifice.I really can't recommend this book enough. I've read it 5 times. I still find things that I missed the first few times I read it. It is dense with historical events, characters, and references. Bradshaw has to take some leaps, obviously to pull it into a cohesive story, but there are many points that are accurate. The only sad thing is that this book is not available electronically at the moment so it might be hard to find.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-05-01 09:32

    I probably love this more than it deserves so feel torn how I should rate it. Is this a deathless historical classic such as Gone With the Wind, Name of the Rose or I, Claudius? No. Neither its style nor an ability to place me in a foreign, alien mindset places it in five star territory. Is this book and are Bradshaw's works in general great favorites I out and out love? You betcha. Charis, the heroine and narrator of the tale is arguably too modern in her outlook--but it doesn't stop me from loving this story--one of those great "comfort reads" because you can immerse yourself in the narrative and love the characters. Charis is a woman who disguises herself as a eunuch so she can study medicine in the Alexandria of the late Roman Empire in the 370s. Besides the appeal of her story, it's interesting to have a look at this period, one still cosmopolitan and rich in learning, but on the brink of a dark age. I own and enjoy other Bradshaw novels, such as Hawk of May (Athurian), Island of Ghosts (Roman Britain) and The Wolf Hunt (Medieval France, but more historical fantasy than historical fiction).

  • Michiel
    2019-05-23 06:44

    This is the kind of book that, once I find it, makes me so happy. I had never heard of this author or this boook had it not been for Goodreads. The only thing I didn't like was that it had to end.Charis is a young noblewoman of Ephesus during the early Christian era. The Church is rife with heresies, and the Empire is split and beset with barbarian hoardes. Against this background, Charis works to pursue her dream of becoming a medical doctor.To tell the truth, that description doesn't do a lot of persuade me to pick up the book, but I can't spoil it. When a book is a well-written and obviously well-researched as this and everything so smoothly flows along, it really doesn't matter that it's about a woman long ago trying to become a doctor. The sum of the book is so much greater than its parts.

  • Emiley
    2019-05-05 07:31

    Gillian Bradshaw is an outstanding author of historical fiction; she studied classics at Cambridge and her attention to detail is reflected in her novels. Beacon at Alexandria describes the trials of Charis of Ephesus, who dreams of studying medicine in the 4th century Roman Empire and diligently reads Hippocrates. Threatened by an impending engagement, she manages to disguise herself as a eunuch and travel to Alexandria and fulfill her lifelong dream. As time passes, she also begins to realize that her greatest dream is not simply to practice medicine, but to practice openly as a woman. However, the political realities of the decaying empire intrude, and she finds herself an unwilling pawn of war.

  • Joy
    2019-05-17 07:35

    One of my favorite books of all time. Charis, an Ephesian aristocrat, flees an unwanted marriage with a brutal official, by disguising herself as a eunuch and going to Alexandria to study medicine. Once she becomes a doctor, a series of coincidences lead her to becoming the personal physician to Athanasius (yes, THAT Athanasius), catapulting her into undesired political intrigue. Her adventures will take her past the borders of the late Roman Empire, and lead her into both adversity and love. Bradshaw, a classicist, shows loving attention to historical, literary, and medical detail, while providing the reader with fascinating, well-rounded characters both fictional and historical.

  • Carol
    2019-05-23 11:48

    This well written historical novel is set during the late 4th century in the eastern branch of the declining Roman Empire and tells the story of Charis, a woman who disguises herself as a eunuch in order to study medicine in Alexandria. She is very intelligent and talented and becomes a very good and successful doctor, but because of political machinations ends up being sent to Thrace to administer an army hospital. I particularly liked the strong, appealing characters and the comparison between the Roman and Gothic cultures.

  • Dana Stabenow
    2019-05-14 12:46

    I was supposed to do a bunch of stuff today. Instead I finished this book.Charis of Ephesus in 371AD is about to be married off to the odious local governor and runs off to Alexandria to become a doctor instead. Historical fiction at its best, great characters and a you-are-there setting that makes you feel like you're living then. Her street scene descriptions are some of the best I've ever read. In a sane world books like this one would never be out of print.

  • Joy
    2019-05-23 13:34

    Re-read 7/1/09. I continue to re-read my favorites of Bradshaw's novels, and am glad to discover that this one is also as good as I remember. Bradshaw is very good at drawing out all the complexities of Charis's situation: there are no easy solutions in which Charis gets to have it all. I suspect I should be a bit cynical about the romance subplot (which fortunately does not take over the entire book), but I guess I'm secretly sentimental about such things after all.

  • Debbie Gascoyne
    2019-05-23 11:34

    mmmm. This is one of my all time favourite books. Rereading it is like settling in for a delightful evening with an old friend.

  • Mely
    2019-04-27 14:38

    Re-read. My favorite of Bradshaw's novels.

  • Gelisvb
    2019-04-23 07:48

    This is the story of a patrician girl living in Efeso in 371 d.c whose dream is to become a doctor, even if it was not allowed for women.Her chance to follow her dream arrives when she is forced to marry an undesired suitor: she disguise herself as an eunuch and she leaves for Alessandra, the cultural capital of the empire.The story follows ten years of her life, the beauty and the decadence of the Roman empire, the poilitics, the religious conflicts, the military camps, the behinning of barbaric's a beautiful portrait of an age, in this book it is give much importance to the description of what it mean to live in that times.More important it's a story about determination and the importance of standing up for yourself and not letting other people tell you what you be. Charis is a great and belivable character and I enjoyed very much reading about her struggles to become what she wanted to be.

  • Erin
    2019-05-24 14:01

    In a film class in college, the professor stated that films about the Roman Empire tell us more about the time in which they were made than the actual time period. I feel that is especially true with this book. It's a charming story and held my attention more than I expected. However, it seems much too modern to be authentic for me. Charis, a noblewoman who feels trapped in the society she is born to, runs away after an awful marriage arrangement to become a doctor. Her first stop is Alexandria for training, disguised as a eunuch. The book chronicles her journey through her studies and the empire where she ends up on the frontier fighting the Goths. This was a different time period than I usually read, so it was refreshing to be in the thick of the Roman Empire. The author does a fairly decent job with the intrigues and problems of the time. As I said, the story is charming. Charis just feels too modern in how she interacts throughout the story.

  • Megan
    2019-05-06 09:35

    Really enjoyed this book. It is the story of Charis, a woman who runs away from her homeland in Ephesus to escape a cruel marriage. She goes to Alexandria, where she disguises herself as a eunuch and sets herself on a journey to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. The story is filled with politics and intrigue, and felt well paced and realistic. The way Chariton's identity was eventually revealed felt believable, and the adventures in between did as well. None of the story felt pushed and prodded to be more dramatic than it needed to be. The 'truth' was dramatic enough.This is the second book I've read by Bradshaw, and she did not disappoint. Looking forward to reading more of her books.

  • Lynn
    2019-05-06 07:57

    I first read this novel in the Eighties, and although I recall really enjoying it, I couldn't recall much of the story. I loved every aspect of this book (no sappy romance, no sex other than a vague allusion towards the end of the story and no gratuitous violence). In our modern times, it's difficult to imagine that there was a time in Man's history that people weren't even really aware of the need for boiled water when treating illness and injury.