Byzantium, 1096. When a mysterious assassin looses his arrow at the Emperor, he has more than a man in his sights; the keystone of a crumbling empire, the Emperor is the solitary figure holding its enemies in check. If he falls, then the mightiest power in Christendom will be torn apart. Aware of the stakes, the Emperor hires Demetrios Askiates, the unveiler of mysteries, to catch the would-be-killer. But Demetrios is entering an unknown and mysterious world, a bubbling cauldron of princes, slaves, mercenaries, pimps and eunuchs. From the depths of the slums to the golden towers of the palace, and from the sands of the hippodrome to the soaring domes of Ayia Sophia, he must edge his way through a glittering maze of treachery and deceit before time runs out. Nor are all enemies within the city walls. With the Turks rampant across Asia, the Emperor has sent to the west for mercenaries to reinforce his position. He gets more than he bargained for, however, when a great army, tens of thousands strong, appear before the gates. The first crusaders have arrived, intent on making their fortunes in war, and they have no allegiance to an empire they eye with jealousy and suspicion. As the armies of east and west confront each other, and the assassin creeps ever closer to his prey, Demetrios must untangle the golden web of intrigue which surrounds the Emperor before the city - and the empire - are drowned in blood. A gripping historical epic that transports the reader back to an eventful and exhilarating era: the violence and intrigue of the Middle Ages.
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A millennium has past since the west fell, but Byzantium still keeps alive the tradition of the Roman Empire. However, by 1096, corruption amongst the royal family and their retinue has weakened the leadership and subsequently the Byzantium Empire. Only the icon of the Emperor keeps the country from collapse. However, someone using a much more powerful arrow than ever seen before tried to assassinate the serene majesty Emperor Akexios and killed an armored guard with this weapon. Concerned for his ruler and his empire, Chamberlain Krysaphios hires Demetrios, unveiler of mysteries, who found the Eparch¿s daughter when everyone thought she was dead. Adding to Krysaphios worries is the great army just in from the west to help battle the Turks resides outside the city with no one knowing where their loyalty lies. The Chamberlain wants Demetrios to uncover the identity of the assassin and who this killer works for before any other incident occurs. Demetrios makes inquiries inside the hedonistic palace, pleasure brothels, and the military camp, but at each point he finds a very complex seditious conspiracy that if successful could leave the Byzantium Empire flowing in a bloody civil war with Turkish invaders waiting to pick apart the remains. --- THE MOSAIC OF SHADOWS is a an exciting historical mystery that uses late eleventh century Byzantium as the backdrop to the tale. The story line reflects a teetering society seemingly in trouble from its excessive indulgences at a time when threats are coming from the east for sure and probably the west too. Reminding readers of Saylor¿s Gordanius and Roberts¿ Decius, Demetrios is an interesting protagonist who escorts readers on a terrific tour during his dangerous investigation.--- Harriet Klausner