By Colleen McCullough

An unforgettable Australian saga of sisterhood, family members, love and betrayal.

This is the tale of 2 units of twins, Edda and style, Tufts and Kitty, who fight opposed to all of the restraints, prohibitions, legislation and prejudices of Twenties Australia. basically the submissive but steely Grace burns for marriage; the sleekly refined Edda burns to be a physician, the down-to-earth yet brave Tufts burns by no means to marry, and the too-beautiful, internally scarred Kitty burns for a love loose from male ownership.

Turbulent instances, poor torments, however the 4 great Latimer sisters, each one so varied, love as ladies do: with tenderness in addition to ardour, and with hearts roomy adequate to carry their males, their young children, their careers and their sisters.

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The same question, but with much more subtle shading, is treated in an earlier story, that of the entirely fictional Empress Crescentia. She intervenes with a duke on behalf of a guilty seneschal whose false witness 24 Introduction had caused the duke to order her drowned for the murder of the duke’s son. The duke had never known her imperial identity when he had entrusted his son to her care, and when she appears again the duke does not even recognize her as the woman he had ordered executed.

The only inference to be drawn from the abrupt breaking-off of the work that does not do violence to considerations of time and the author’s attitude toward recording events is, unhappily, of no help in telling us anything about him: that, at the point in question, our monk was puzzling over how to proceed with his account of the Second Crusade, and probably putting off its writing from day to day, when death or some sudden force of circumstances kept him from returning to his work. 2. Patronage Although there is neither a dedication nor mention of a patron in the Book of Emperors, a figure of some wealth or authority must be assumed to have stood behind its writing—unless the author himself were a spiritual lord of high degree, which cannot be ruled out, but which his anonymity speaks against.

At the end of the story, the words of Jesus about the destruction of Jerusalem are cited at length just before the (unhistorically early) Roman destruction of Jerusalem (690-764; 875-896). Still, his general statement that “the spirit of severity tinged by the genius of the Old Testament prevails almost everywhere” is on target. Ibid. The Value of the Book of Emperors 25 Thus with wise council did the King rule the Empire. He proclaimed a peace of God: for highway robbery the noose was the sentence, for murder the wheel—hai!

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