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Six For Gold

by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer

      John the Eunuch is really in deep trouble in his sixth case - on the run from the law, and then chained up in the dungeons being gloated over by a malevolent Theodora. A senator has been murdered, and John is the main suspect; but he can redeem himself if he goes to Mehenopolis in Egypt. Here, according the Emperor Justinian, he will find the answers.

At last, a dungeon scene a la Salammbo! The series seems to have been working up to this and even if it comes to naught something in the rocky relationship between John and Theodora has shifted. As ever, the pages are packed with plot, history and a sprinkling of humor. Byzantium has been swapped for Egypt, and here is a tortuous tale of sheep that kill themselves, a snake deity, a wandering beekeeper, erstwhile charioteer and battles between a magician and a cleric. John remains enigmatic and melancholy as ever, with his newly reunited family to worry over, and certain old faces who have reappeared. He is certainly one of the most tantalising and readable sleuths around, and he provides grounding to some of the more giddy characters and flights of plotting fancy that makes the story all balance out so nicely. Balance is what makes this a successful series in my opinion, as each book has a new case and the latest instalment of long-running plot strands, humor and drama, invention and history. In this particular novel (as in the last) a need for editing and repetition has gone completely and this is one of the strongest entries in the series. Do I really have to wait a whole year for book seven? Another pleasing, well plotted and historically evocative delight.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
November 2005
Historical Crime [542, Byzantium & Egypt]
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NOTE: Review 2

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005