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Four for a Boy (John the Eunuch Mysteries) [Paperback]

Mary Reed , Eric Mayer

RRP: 8.82
Price: 8.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jun 2007 John the Eunuch Mysteries
Gang-plagued streets, politicians plotting each other's downfall, poverty and homelessness existing side-by-side with manifest wealth-no, this isn't modern day Washington D.C., but rather 6th-Century Constantinople. After a philanthropist is murdered in the city's Great Church, where he's gone too visit a controversial statue of Christ, John the Eunuch, Lord Chamberlin to Byzantine Emperor Justinian the First, is assigned to ferret out the killer and maybe also to act the role of a spy in a web of rivalries involving the current and future emperors.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; US trade ed edition (1 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590582101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590582107
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13 x 21.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 759,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

The husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer had published several short John the Eunuch detections in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow. Two for Joy is their second full-length John the Eunuch mystery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The swaggering and elegant young thugs who styled themselves the Blues had terrorized Constantinople for months. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful mystery of Byzantine Constantinople 16 Aug 2003
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The aging emperor, Justin, is increasingly infirm and his nephew and heir, Justinian, is sick. As a result, the city of Constantinople is convulsed by doubt and riots. The Blues (one of the racing factions that battled in the streets of the greatest city in the world) rule the streets, suppressed only by the police authorities who have become increasingly violent. When a rich man is murdered, the senators are quick to point the finger at Justinian. Justinian may be sick (he believes he's being poisoned), but he isn't stupid. He asks a slave, John the Eunuch, to help investigate.
What John finds seems to point the finger more directly at Justinian. Because there is a conspiracy at work, and the victim seems to have been involved with the conspirators. Yet John, accompanied by the royal bodyguard, Felix, suspects that they are missing something. That suspicion becomes more deeply seated when John and Felix are nearly killed by professional assassins. Somehow, John has to get to the bottom of the mystery, ensure that the results don't reflect badly on his patron, and prevent riots from destroying the city. It's a lot to ask a slave.
Authors Mary Reed and Eric Mayer write convincingly of Constantinople in one of its most famous and dangerous periods. Christianity is the legal religion, but pagan and Mithraism remain strong (if illegal) forces. Christianity itself is violently divided by clashing beliefs about the nature of Jesus's divinity--a clash that the Emperor must often play a role in healing. In a few years, Justinian will undertake his epic and doomed quest to restore the Roman Empire--but only if he can survive.
Set fifteen years before the earlier novels in this series, FOUR FOR A BOY is both enjoyable and fascinating. Anyone interested in this critical timeframe, or interested in a good historical mystery, will want to read this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Byzantine Conspiracies 28 Oct 2004
By R. BULL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reed and Mayer present a well-researched and fascinating peek at 6th century Constantinople. If you think soccer hooligans are dangerous, imagine them with swords and knives. Supporters of the "Blues" who support one team of chariot racers, terrorize the city and assasinate a well known philanthropist. Rumor start to fly that Justinian, already named succesor to Emporer Justin, is stirring up unrest to hurry the aging Caesar from the throne. John the eunuch and an imperial bodyguard are assigned to investigate by Justinian. Nothing is quite what it seems. Do the police authorities supress or cause the riots? Is Justinian ill or is he being poisoned? Is the father of the woman John tutors a patriot or a traitor? Is Justin demented or is he just pretending to be? Raging against his status of a slave and tormented by the memory of his forced , John is forced to unravel the lies and survive assination attempts. A compelling book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prequel to the John the Eunuch Mysteries 7 Mar 2009
By W. S. McKenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This volume jumps back to 525 and relates the beginning of John's career from slave to Lord Chamberlain. I enjoy this series for the unusual historical setting in sixth century Constantinople with rich descriptions of life in the city on the Bosporus. John is teamed with Felix of the Palace guard who slowly begins to appreciate the slave's talents: "At least I know you can handle yourself in a fight." We meet the dying Justin, his successor Justinian, and Theodora who "does not enjoy the notion of Justinian being grateful to anyone except her."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John the Eunuch's First Case 16 July 2007
By D. G. Hulan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the fourth case for John the Eunuch during the reign of Justinian I, following One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, and Three for a Letter. Except for a brief prologue, this one takes place long before the events of the first three books, when John was fairly new as a slave in Constantinople and very bitter about it. He was owned by the emperor (who was still Justinian's uncle Justin at the time) and worked for the Master of the Plate; he was on loan to the senator Opimius to teach his daughter Persian. Then a close friend of Opimius, Hypatius, is murdered in the Great Church (on the site where Justinian would later build the famous Hagia Sophia, but this was its predecessor that burned during the Nike riots), and Justinian commandeers John and Felix, an excubitor (palace guard) originally from Germany, to work with the head of the city guard to find the murderer. It's all very complex and political, but John ultimately solves the case and also uncovers a conspiracy against Justinian, for which he's manumitted. This series isn't as good as most of the other classical-era mysteries I've read (Lindsey Davis, David Wishart, John Maddox Roberts, Steven Saylor - about on a par with Saylor, but not as good as the others), but it's worth buying and keeping.
3.0 out of 5 stars A second chance: 25 April 2014
By Maria Nalegach Romero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I decided to give John a second chance, specially since this book promised to be the prequel to the other books. I liked this one better tjan the first, the main character has more dimensions than in the first book. The solution to the mistery is a little forced but possible. Just might read another one.
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