In 525 Constantinople nothing is as it should be. The winter is unnaturally cold, and the palace has fallen under the sway of both the shade of the wife of ...
Four for a Boy: A John, the Lord Chamberlain Mystery #4
In 525 Constantinople nothing is as it should be. The winter is unnaturally cold, and the palace has fallen under the sway of both the shade of the wife of the dying Emperor Justin and Theodora, the former actress his gravely ill successor Justinian intends to marry. The streets are terrorized alternately by elegantly dressed young thugs who style themselves the Blues and forces under the orders of the City Prefect nicknamed The Gourd, a man notoriously adept at slaughter and magic. Thus, when a wealthy philanthropist is killed in broad daylight in the Great Church, it isn’t entirely surprising that the future ruler Justinian engages an anonymous young slave called John to investigate what many believe could be part of a succession conspiracy. In this series prequel, John the Eunuch takes his first dangerous steps along the path that will lead him to hold office as Lord Chamberlain. Among the suspects are many whose lives might be touched by an emperor, from senators, churchman, and wealthy businessmen to laborers, beggars, and prostitutes. Before he can track down the murderer, John must first win the respect of Felix, the excubitor reluctantly assisting him, discourage the advances of the romantic but naive Lady Anna, and make peace with his own fate.
Nominated for the 2001 Bruce Alexander Award for Best Historical Mystery.