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Winner, the Glyph Award - Best Mystery
Honorable Mention - Glyph Best Book Award list
IPPY Best Mystery Award finalist
John the Eunuch, Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor Justinian, is skilled at keeping his footing on the treacherous slopes of court intrigue, but even he may slip when presented with a new and byzantine problem: why would a holy man high atop his pillar spontaneously combust during a thunder storm? Soon, other stylites burn to their deaths. John, still fresh from working a tricky murder case two years earlier in One for Sorrow, finds that his investigations are hampered by a pagan philosophy tutor from his youth and a heretical Christian prophet whose ultimatums threaten to topple the Empire.
Then murder strikes close to home and John has only days to find a solution before he, his friends, the Emperor Justinian, and the city itself are destroyed.
A colorful cast of characters that includes a runaway wife, servants and soldiers, madams and mendicants, a venomous court page and a wealthy landowner or two - not to mention John's bête noire, the Empress Theodora - add texture to this rich, exotic tale.
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The husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer published several short stories about John, Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999’s highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow. Entries in the series have been honored by a Best Mystery Glyph Award, an honorable mention in the Glyph Best Book category, and was a finalist for the IPPY Best Mystery Award (Two For Joy), nominations for the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award (Four For A Boy and Five For Silver), and a Glyph Award for Best Book Series (Five For Silver). The American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine named the Lord Chamberlain novels one of its four Best Little Known Series. Mary Reed & Eric Mayer also write under Eric Reed.From Publishers Weekly:
This sequel to One for Sorrow continues the sixth-century adventures of John the Eunuch in the bustling, intrigue-filled city of Constantinople. The authors successfully create a setting in which Christianity, now the dominant religion under Emperor Justinian, is not only challenged by other beliefs but contested from within by competing factions. John, a former student and slave risen to the lofty but precarious position of Lord Chamberlain, is at storm center. First, Justinian charges him with investigating the fiery deaths of several "stylites"Dholy men who live alone atop pillars. Three of the stylites appear to have burst into consuming flames. John is sent along with his friend, Senator Flavius Aurelius, to meet with Michael, a prophet proclaiming a "quaternity" rather than a trinity of Christian godhood. Michael, who's attracting a growing following, claims to have foretold the stylites' deaths. It's punnish but apt to describe the plot as byzantine. Competition between rival chariot teams threatens to erupt into riots. Michael and his movement could prove a danger to the empire. The whims of Theodora, Justinian's powerful and ruthless wife, threaten more disruptions. The murder of a friend, imprisonment of another and the machinations of Justinian, Theodora and Michael combine to test John's ingenuity and resolve to the utmost. Fascinating historical details help compensate for an overly complex and sprawling story line, but the relative ignorance within the general mystery readership about this historical period could limit sales. (Dec. 7)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Poisoned Pen Press, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX189020837X
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