Mark Terry

Monday, April 14, 2008

On Your Reading Radar: "SEVEN FOR A SECRET"

April 14, 2008
My friends Eric Mayer and Mary Reed’s seventh historical mystery novel—SEVEN FOR A SECRET--featuring John the Eunuch, Lord Chamberlain to Emperor Justinian in sixth-century Constantinople arrives on bookshelves on the 15th. I have commented on this blog in the past that I’m not a fan of historical mysteries. There is only one consistent exception to that—Eric and Mary’s books.

I have this one on my shelf, ready to read soon, and I strongly, strongly, strongly encourage readers here to check out their books. So here’s a link to the Amazon page and a link to their website. Check ‘em out.


Who killed the mosaic girl? As Lord Chamberlain, John spends his days counseling Emperor Justinian while passing the small hours of night in conversation with the solemn-eyed little girl depicted in a mosaic on his study wall. He never expected to meet her in a public square or afterwards find her red-dyed corpse in a subterranean cistern. Had the mysterious woman truly been the model for the mosaic years before as she claimed? Who was she? Why had she sought John out? Who wanted her dead --  and why? The answers seem to lie among the denizens of the smoky streets of that quarter of Constantinople known as the Copper Market, where artisans, beggars, prostitutes, pillar saints, and exiled aristocrats struggle to survive within sight of the Great Palace and yet worlds distant. John encounters a faded actress, a patriotic sausage maker, a sundial maker who fears the sun, a religious visionary, a man who lives in a treasure trove, and a beggar who owes his life to a cartload of melons. Before long he suspects he is attempting to unravel not just a murder but a plot against the empire. Or is John really on a personal quest, to find the reality behind the confidante he thought existed only in his own imagination? Is there such a thing as truth in a place where people live on memories, dreams, and illusions? Even if there is, can John push aside the shadows and find the truth in time?  

 And, as you can see below, they're getting rave reviews. I think it's high time they broke out and took the world by storm. I'm must sayin'...


"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.


"...from brothels to copper markets to public baths and poetry readings, each rife with all the gossip, rumor, deceit and lewdness you'd expect from one of the Lord Chamberlain's cases." -- Kirkus Reviews (4/1/2008)


"Once again convincing historical detail and strong characterization help drive a riveting plot."--Publishers Weekly, 1/7/2008.
Read the whole review.


"This isn’t one of those superficial mysteries that use historical trappings to cover up a weak story; it’s a compelling crime novel that happens to be set in another time and place." — David Pitt, Booklist, January 2008 
Read the whole review


"...makes history come alive with its complex characterization, fast-paced action, and vivid sensory details." -- Karm Holladay 
Read the whole review at BellaOnline.


" many twists and turns as the mean streets of Byzantium." -- Rachel A Hyde 
Read the whole review at


"John's investigation is clever and fun to follow, but like the previous six numbered tales, it is the insightful look at ancient history that makes SEVEN FOR A SECRET (and its predecessors) a great reading experience.....Ancient historical mystery readers know the John the Eunuch tales are one of the best series on the market..." --Harriet Klausner.
Read the whole review.


"Reed-Mayer have done their homework well, bringing sixth-century Constantinople to multi-hued life..." -- Barry Baldwin
Read the whole review


Mark Terry


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