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Nine for the Devil

Overview

The year is 548 and Empress Theodora is dead of disease. Or so everyone in Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire, believes. Everyone except Emperor Justinian, who orders John, his Lord Chamberlain, tofind her murderer or suffer the consequences.

There is no sign of foul play, but many of the aristocrats at the imperial court had good reason to want Theodora dead. Suspects include General Artabanes, forced to occupy a house with an unloved wife; Justinian’s cousin Germanus,...

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Overview

The year is 548 and Empress Theodora is dead of disease. Or so everyone in Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire, believes. Everyone except Emperor Justinian, who orders John, his Lord Chamberlain, tofind her murderer or suffer the consequences.

There is no sign of foul play, but many of the aristocrats at the imperial court had good reason to want Theodora dead. Suspects include General Artabanes, forced to occupy a house with an unloved wife; Justinian’s cousin Germanus, who has seen his career blocked; and Antonina and her husband General Belisarius, enraged by Theodora’s attempt to marry their daughter to her grandson by compelling the young couple to live together. Could the exiled and much hated former tax collector
John the Cappadocian have played a role? Might Gaius, palace physician, have tampered with Theodora’s medication? Pope Vigilius, detained in the capital due to a religious controversy, is not above suspicion. Even John’s friends, the lawyer Anatolius and Felix, captain of the place guards, are acting strangely.

As if seeking a murderer who seems to be a gment of the emperor’s grief-deranged imagination isn’t dif cult enough, John must also grapple with domestic upheavals. His daughter, living on an estate outside the city, is about to give birth, and his aging servant Peter is dying. Will John be able to serve justice, his loved ones, and the emperor?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The puzzle is challenging enough to keep readers  searching for clues, but the triumph of the authors lies in their spot-on recreation of the political and bureaucratic climate of the times."—Publishers Weekly starred review of Nine for the Devil

"Whores, beggars, lawyers, even a tax collector and a pope wander around Constantinople’s back alleys, brothels, kitchens and church sanctum sanctorums. What a relief for John (Eight for Eternity, 2010, etc.) to be finally freed of his duties and prepare to take his household off to Greece." —Kirkus Reviews of Nine for the Devil

"More complex and colorful than any Byzantine mosaic, Nine for the Devil by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, will sweep you back into the cruel intrigue-ridden court of the Emperor Justinian, where treachery and murder linger behind every shadowed column of the imperial palace in Constantinople." —Robin Burcell, award-winning author of The Bone Chamber

"Twisty plotting, fabulous dialogue, and aristocratic backstabbing drew me into this clever plot (Who killed an Empress who showed no signs of being murdered?) and I could not stop reading until I watched master problem-solver John dance his way out of the deadly wrath of his grieving emperor." Jerrilyn Farmer, bestselling author of the Madeline Bean mysteries

"Subtle, well-drawn characters, from the ascetic John to the capricious and enigmatic Justinian; deft descriptive detail revealing life in the late Roman Empire; and sharp dialogue make this another winner in this outstanding historical series" —Publishers Weekly starred review of Eight for Eternity

Publishers Weekly
In Reed and Mayer’s superior ninth mystery set in sixth-century Constantinople (after 2010’s Eight for Eternity), Justinian sets John, the emperor’s lord chamberlain, an almost impossible, high-stakes task. John must discover who killed Justinian’s wife, Empress Theodora, who has died after a long and painful illness. John is skeptical that Theodora was poisoned, especially since access to the empress was strictlylimited, but he fears his family may suffer if he fails to please the capricious dictator, rumored to be a demon in human form. Since many people had reason to want Theodora dead, John has to work his way through every reasonable possibility while dreading the end of Justinian’s patience. The puzzle is challenging enough to keep readers searching for clues, but the triumph of the authors lies in their spot-on recreation of the political and bureaucratic climate of the times. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590589953
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Series: John, the Lord Chamberlain Series
  • Edition description: Large type / large print
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

After 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow, the husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer extended the series with Two For Joy, Three For A Letter, Four For A Boy, and Five for Silver. In June 2003 Booklist Magazine named the John the Eunuch novels one of its four Best Little Known Series.

The husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer had published several short John the Eunuch detections in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow.

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