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Helena [Kindle Edition]

Evelyn Waugh
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $8.89
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

Helena is the intelligent, horse-mad daughter of a British chieftain who is thrown into marriage with the man who will one day become the Roman emperor Constantius. Leaving home for lands unknown, she spends her adulthood seeking truth in the religions, mythologies, and philosophies of the declining ancient world, and becomes initiated into Christianity just as it is recognized as the religion of the Roman Empire. Helena-a novel that Evelyn Waugh considered to be his favorite, and most ambitious, work-deftly traverses the forces of corruption, treachery, enlightenment, and political intrigue of Imperial Rome as it brings to life an inspiring heroine.

Product Details

  • File Size: 738 KB
  • Print Length: 142 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (December 11, 2012)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008745CEA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,942 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waugh With A Difference- A Prelude To Julian April 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
It is always a pleasure when an author shows the reader that he has done his homework. A poorly written historical novel usually is little more than a collection of anachronisms that do little aesthetically and only show that the author has an access to an encyclopedia. This is not history but the author's construct of his own fable. Read it and you will have a taste of how Mr. Waugh views certain historical events while commenting subtly and advancing his ideas about faith and as an entertaining aside his English presumptions about the classical world and the Anglo-Saxon world's debt to it.

If someone was be required to write a novel based only on a synopsis of this book, the outcome would be decidedly boring so I will just give a brief comment of the story line. Helena who may have an Anglo-Saxon background is a fervent Christian and spends much time influencing her son who will become known to history as Constantine The Great. She goes on a quest to find relics in what we call the Holy Land not just the cross but any relics. That is like saying the Sistine is a bunch of pictures about Bible stories.

This book is a rich tapestry and seizes your attention as the story progresses. Yes, it must be read to be appreciated. And who the hell is Julian? Why it is the title of Gore Vidal's book about the Roman emperor known as Julian the Apostate which if your sympathies are with Evelyn Waugh, will infuriate you but like Waugh, Vidal did his homework- almost a mirror image.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Modern Tone Undermines Waugh's Important Message February 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While he considered it to be one of the most important books he ever wrote, Evelyn Waugh's "Helena" is not one of his stronger outings. Originally published in 1950, Waugh makes no bones about his Catholic faith. His take on Helena, the Roman noblewoman who was Constantine's mother and the reputed founder of the True Cross. There are moments, especially in the last fifth of the book, when Waugh writes some of the most moving and insightful passages he ever crafted on religion. But Waugh undermines his book by making Helena talk like an English girl of the twentieth century and some strange attempts at humor (including a tortured routine on King Coel and bringing in the "Old King Cole" nursery rhyme). Waugh's not so subtle comparisons between the Roman Empire at the end of the third century and England after the war fall flat. To have Helena talk like one of the girls in earlier Waugh masterpieces like "Vile Bodies" seems a little forced and readers might tune out the more serious parts of the book. Waugh is, as always, a master of prose which redeems the book a great deal. While a solid book, "Helena" does not rank as one of Waugh's major works and readers unfamiliar with him should look at other books first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars classic book September 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
a typical waugh book, not to be amusing but to convey time place pand character as only he can. a superbly written book
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting though it left me wanting more March 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thsi is fascinating as a fictionalized account of a pivotal time in the hitory of the Church and western civilization, though it left me wanting more depth in character development and even a greater sweep of the historical circumstances. A good read, but not the great book I was hoping it would be.
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