Nine for the Devil Hardcover – Mar 6 2012
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"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
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
My only criticism is that occasionally the sentence structure made me stop and say, "Huh? What was that?", thus pulling me out of the narrative to parse out the meaning of the sentence.
Example: "But Cosmas and Damian did seem inclined to aid a Mithran Lord Chamberlain." I expected there to be "not" in the sentence. Chapter Sixty-one.
Another example: "...it would also be difficult not to be able to sleep at your post for fear the emperor might suddenly appear and catch you at it." Awkward. Chapter Sixty-one.
And there were a few, just a few, typos and misplaced commas. Nothing serious.
All in all, a book well worth reading--and while you're at it, read the whole series. You will enjoy them all.
The husband/wife writing team of Eric Mayer and Mary Reed take great pains to get most of their historical facts correct in this well constructed mystery with great characters and vivid settings. You think you don't like historical mysteries like this? Think again; that's what I thought too, but I'm nine books into the series and I have thoroughly enjoyed every last one of these offerings. I truly feel like I can "see" the city and the residences and the splendor of the Imperial residence and the churches juxtaposed with sometimes seedier and more squalid settings around the city. I believe in these characters, both those taken from history like the Emperor and his "other" Lord Chamberlain (Narses) and generals like Germanus and Belisarius and all the others, and the fictional characters like the Captain of the Excubitors Felix, the physician Gaius, the lawyer Anatolius and of course John, the eunuch who was captured, castrated and enslaved by the Persians as a young man and who has risen through the palace ranks to become Lord Chamberlain.
I'm not sure, but this feels like it might be the end of this series. Is it? I hope not. But if you haven't read any of these, and you like mysteries, you have a treat waiting for you. Don't let the historical aspect, or the fact that they are set in the 6th century, hold you back.
I am not thoroughly schooled in the murder mystery genre. I know there usually is a clue that informs the reader – if they are alert - of the “bad guy”. In the John the Lord Chamberlain series these clues are often too obscure for me to realize while reading the novel. That was true in this novel as well. I have enjoyed reading these novels too much to worry about picking up that clue.
The sad part of this ninth novel is that the authors may be discarding John as their detective. This would be sad for me. Then again, in the early part of the novel John mentions that there may be as many as ten or eleven verses to the rhyme the authors use for their title. So maybe it is a false alarm, my concern is unwarranted and I’ll enjoy John mysteries for some time in the future.
I recommend this novel to anyone interested in historical fiction, especially historical mysteries. If the reader is interested in historical mysteries involving the Roman Empire, this novel might be a must read. My 4 rating is as high as I could give any novel I’ve read in quite some time. If I could, I’d give a 4.5.
He directs lord chamberlain John to investigate his wife's death with the warning of finding her killer or he and his family will face the same consequences Justinian plans for Theodora's murderer. John knows that the empress died of natural causes from a debilitating disease as few had access to the Empress. Still though a doubting Thomas, he analyzes who of the many with motives at the castle had both access and major gains with Theodora out of the way. He narrows the list to a few powerful people with deep grudges against the royal couple, but remains skeptical that a homicide occurred as opportunity is limited to Gaius the royal physician and food servicing servants to have delivered poison.
The latest John the Lord Chamberlain sixth century Constantinople mystery (see Eight for Eternity) is a great entry that combines a strong whodunit with a puissant look at the period mostly inside the place but somewhat also through the heroes' friends and family outside too. The palace politics engages the audience as the norm is superstition (for instance the Emperor is a demon), backstabbing and betrayal. John knows the urgency of his mission as time is running out on him and his loved ones with Justinian demanding the head of his wife's killer. With a moral dilemma to hand over someone or else, fans will enjoy John's latest adventures in the palace of Emperor Justinian.