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Set in 622 A.D. during the decades-long war between the Persian and Eastern Roman empires, The Gardens of Byzantium offers a unique backdrop for a tragic love story.

The main characters, Asana and Antonius, are on opposing sides of the war, which began before Asana was even born. Her entire life has been one of turmoil and change. Every year found her uprooted and brought to another foreign land to live an austere life in a garrison with her father, an officer in the Persian Army. But the middle of a war is no place for such a gentle soul.

Before long, she is swept away from her family and forced to flee on the back of her beloved horse. Fate leads her into the hands of a handsome and mysterious Roman soldier named Antonius who sequesters her in a beautiful palace in the heart of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine empire.

Asana begins to fall for him, and at last it seems as though she may have found an oasis of happiness in her war-torn world. That is, until news of a Persian army marching toward the city upends her life again, setting in motion an unstoppable chain of events that bring the story to its breathtaking and tragic conclusion.

Enhance your reading experience

J.F. Hughes curated a chapter-by-chapter playlist to accompany The Gardens of Byzantium.
Readers can listen on Spotify or YouTube.