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Evelyn Waugh's personal favorite of his novels and "a superlatively well done book" (Chicago Tribune) set in the age of Emperor Constantine.
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.
About the Author
Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), whom Time called "one of the century's great masters of English prose," wrote several widely acclaimed novels as well as volumes of biography, memoir, travel writing, and journalism. Three of his novels, A Handful of Dust, Scoop, and Brideshead Revisited, were selected by the Modern Library as among the 100 best novels of the twentieth century.
"[Helena] may be read on two levels of appreciation. As bright entertainment, or as deceptively profound commentary. On both levels it's a superlatively well done book."—Chicago Tribune
"In Helena, the play of words and the fireworks, the exquisite descriptions of landscapes, and even the finished portraits of the heroine, her husband, and her son, are always subordinate to the author's broad vision of the mixed anguish and hope with which the world of Constantine's time was filled."—New York Herald Tribune