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by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer
Poisoned Pen Press, November 2005
218 pages
ISBN: 1590581458

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The John the Eunuch series by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer gets better and better as it continues. In SIX FOR GOLD, this time it is John the Eunuch who finds himself in trouble. Trying to escape from the law, the Lord Chamberlain John the Eunuch finds himself arrested and accused of the murder of Senator Symacchus.

Caught between Empress Theodora (with whom he has a difficult relationship) and who wants justice and Emperor Justinian. John realises that the only way in which he is going to survive is to agree to go to Egypt on behalf of the Emperor and investigate why sheep are committing suicide, while his best friend Anatolius remains in Constantinople investigating the late Senator's death in the hope of clearing John's name.

This is not an easy task for John, as he knows that if he does not successfully solve the problem then he is more likely to pay with his life.

Once again, SIX FOR GOLD brings to life an era of Egypt that is rarely written about. While the authors may have substituted Egypt for Byzantium, the series is still full of history and that dash of humour that resonates throughout the whole series.

As a character, John is as mysterious and as despondent as one has come to expect. He has his new family to worry about as well as the old faces that re-appear as well.

The good thing about this series, which always comes across, is how well-plotted and evocative it is. The conflict between Christianity and paganism is highlighted by the battle of supremacy that takes places between the two religions and the reader is drawn into the struggle as if they were present themselves. This series flows seamlessly and is certainly worth reading. It covers an era of history that is as fascinating as it is cruel.

Reviewed by Ayo Onatade, October 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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