Silk Dreams

Written by Diana Groe
Review by Audrey Braver

Set in the Byzantine Empire at the end of the first millennium, Silk Dreams is an adventurous love story between two Northerners, Erik and Valdis. Erik is a soldier who serves the emperor. On a visit to the slave market, he sees Valdis and is immediately attracted to her, but a eunuch in the Emperor’s household outbids him. Valdis is beautiful despite a pair of mismatched eyes and the fact that she has the falling sickness, which combined with her eyes leads her owner to believe she has the gift of a seer—a prophetess. The eunuch hires Erik to teach her to speak Greek, as he plans to make her a spy when he sells her to a wealthy and powerful silk merchant who fancies himself a “kingmaker.”

Ms. Groe writes evocative prose that brings the reader right into the scene. Her description of a staged sea battle is very exciting, and her portrayal of the effects of an epileptic seizure is sympathetic. The pacing, however, is a little pedantic.