At the heart of what is left of the Roman Empire, lies a city simmering with intrigue & treachery. Amid this maelstrom stands John, ex-slave, now the right hand of Emperor Justinian. It is John's skills as an investigator that Justinian prizes the most. But the emperor is not a sentimental man. Nor is he a patient one. John knows his position is precarious. One misstep and his enemies may have him. And if they don't, the emperor himself almost certainly will.Styx and Stones
by Eric (Dante and pulp fiction)
Over on Joanne Tropello's site Mary set forth some thoughts on the value of websites for authors and others, not least their round-the-clock promotional presence. Guest blog at Mustard Seed Marketing
At Poe's Deadly Daughters we talk about inventing a religion for one of our mysteries. Or at least we thought we were inventing one....Inventing a Religion...or Not
In the April SPAWN newsletter Mary writes about how our Byzantine mystery series began with a very short story in an anthology. Anthologies? We Love 'Em
At Lelia Taylor's Buried Under Books, Mary writes about the November 5th British holiday known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night: Desperate Men Remembered
A Halloween story by Mary at King's River Life: Or Equivalent Experience
Diana Hockley interviews Mary at Kings River Life.
At Jenny Milchman's blog, Suspense Your Disbelief, Mary has a piece about our use of magic our mysteries and a real historical villain, who purportedly employed magic, whom we used for fictional purposes.
In The Devil's Nine Questions at the Dames of Dialogue blog, Mary writes about riddle songs from a 19th century collection of English and Scottish popular ballads.
Mary and Eric are interviewed at Anne Albert's Muriel Reeves Mystery blog.
Our sleuth John the Lord Chamberlain is interviewed Susanne Alleyn's Historical Mystery Blog.
There's a short excerpt from Nine for the Devil up on author Chris Redding's blog.
Nine for the Devil was Pierce's Pick for the week of March 5 over at the Rap Sheet.
Mary talks about old leap year customs in Gloves and Garlands at Ivy Truit's Manic Readers blog.
In Mythraic Myths, on Suzanne Adair's blog, Relevant History, Mary writes about what ancient misrepresentations about the Mithraic religion can teach us about religious misapprehensions today.
We have a new story in The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction edited by Mike Ashley. Featuring a dozen novellas spanning four thousand years of criminal history, contributors include Peter Tremayne, Charles Todd, Steven Saylor, Anne Perry, and Maan Meyers. The ink-stained wretches at Casa Maywrite also lurk within, with Eyes of the Icon, the dark tale of a Byzantine icon painter, suddenly out of work when icons are banned, who becomes embroiled in a case of deception.
Mary has contributed to Advanced Plotting by Chris Eboch. Advanced Plotting is designed for the intermediate and advanced writer: youíve finished a few manuscripts, read books and articles on writing, taken some classes, attended conferences. But you still struggle with plot, or suspect that your plotting needs work. This book can help.
One for Sorrow (HoZ edition)
"A thought provoking historical crime story that will keep you reading - and enjoying."
--Our Book Reviews Online
Read the whole review of One for Sorrow.
Nine for the Devil
"In Reed and Mayerís superior ninth mystery set in sixth-century Constantinople...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."
-- Publisher's Weekly, 1/9/2012
Read the whole review
"The authors once again make the Byzantine Empire vibrant and nuanced."
--Library Journal, 3/1/2012
"More complex and colorful than any Byzantine mosaic, Nine for the Devil, 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."
óRobin 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
"The unusual premise instills the narrative with a disturbing tension...Nine for the Devil is a good example of how to set a mystery within a real-life scenario...a denouement that's both satisfying and historically plausible."
Read the whole review at Reading the Past.
"Words cannot describe the creeping fear which seeps through... this
excellent story, drawing the reader into the stranglehold of life in the 6th
Century of the Byzantine Empire."
Read the whole review at Kings River Life.
"The first John the Lord Chamberlain mystery I have read and I am now
truly a fan! Can't wait to see John again. This husband and wife
team of authors took me back in time accurately and in an intoxicating
--Anne Tarski at NetGalley, 2/22/2012
"This book was AWESOME!! ... There was phenomenal character development and the book oozed that it was intelligently written. This is def. a series I will go back and start from the first book and stalk for continued new releases!!!"
--Noami Blackburn at Goodreads.com
"...a great entry that combines a strong whodunit with a puissant look at the period mostly inside the place but somewhat also through the heroesí friends and family outside too."
Read the whole review at Genre Go Round Reviews
"...far more complex than a whodunit...A dark chilling look at a delicate balance of politics...and the search for a killer that may not exist!"
Read the whole review at Criminal History
more reviews of Nine for the Devil...
Eight For Eternity
"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." -- Publisher's Weekly, 2/8/2010
Read the whole review.
"An absolute page-turner, and one that is easily read without having started with other books in the series."
--Amy Sikes at ReadertoReader.com
more reviews of Eight For Eternity...
Seven For A Secret
"The authors get everything right in their latest historical. The story
is fast paced, the tensions between characters well portrayed; the
ending leaves the reader clamoring for more."--Library Journal, 2/2/2008
Read the whole review.
More reviews of all the books
Five For Silver has won a Glyph Award from the Arizona Book Publishing Association for Best Book Series. The 2005 ABPA awards are for books published during the previous two years.
FIVE FOR SILVER was nominated for the 2005 Bruce Alexander History Mystery Award
Ten for Dying
On a hot summer night in 6th century Constantinople at the Church of the Holy Apostles, an Egyptian magician tries to raise Empress Theodora from the dead and demons vanish into the darkness with one of the cityís holiest relics, a fragment of the shroud of the Virgin. As if Felix, Captain of the Palace Guard, didnít have enough problems already between his gambling debts, political maneuverings, and an ambitious new mistress, Emperor Justinian orders him to find the missing relic.
But before he can begin investigating the theft, he becomes suspected of murder thanks to an anonymous corpse left at his house.
A former madam turned leader of a religious refuge, a wealthy and famous charioteer, a generalís scheming wife, and a superstitious man who wears so many protective charms that he jingles when he walks, all play their parts in misdirection and murder. It seems as if half the city has reason to wish to possess the relic, see Felix dead, or both.
If only Felixís friend John were still in the city and could assist him. Unfortunately, the former Lord Chamberlain is being sent into exile, sailing away the morning after the theft. It isnít easy solving a mystery in Constantinople while aboard a ship on its way to Greece.
Felix is left to fight for survival in a situation where he canít be sure who his enemies are, or even whether they are all human.
Nine for the Devil
The year is 548 and Empress Theodora is dead, the victim of cancer. Or so everyone in Constantinople, capital of the Roman Empire, believes. Everyone except Emperor Justinian who orders John, his Lord Chamberlain, to find the murderer or suffer the consequences. John embarks on an impossible investigation. There is no sign of foul play, but many of the quarreling, backstabbing 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; Justinianís cousin Germanus, who has seen his career blocked; and Antonina and her husband General Belisarius, enraged by Theodoraís 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 Theodoraís medication? Pope Vigilius, detained in the capital due to a religious controversy, is not above suspicion. Even Johnís friends, the lawyer Anatolius and Felix, captain of the place guards, are acting strangely. As if seeking a murderer who seems to be a figment of the emperorís grief-deranged imagination isnít difficult 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?
|About the Authors|
The husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer published several short John the Lord Chamberlain detections in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One For Sorrow. Their protagonist's adventures continued in Two For Joy (2000), a Glyph Award winner in the Best Mystery category. Two For Joy also gained an Honorable Mention in the Glyph Best Book Award list and in addition was a finalist for the IPPY Best Mystery Award. Three For A Letter (2001), Four For A Boy (2003), and Five For Silver (2004) followed. The latter two novels were nominees for the Bruce Alexander History Mystery Award. Five For Silver won the 2005 Glyph Award for Best Book Series. In June 2003 the American Library Association's Booklist Magazine named the Lord Chamberlain novels as one of its four Best Little Known Series. Six For Gold appeared in 2005, Seven For A Secret in 2008, Eight For Eternity in 2010, and Nine for the Devil in 2012. Ten For Dying will appear in March 2014 from Poisoned Pen Press. Head of Zeus is publishing the series in the UK and Europe.
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