Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Constantinople, during the reign of the Emperor Justinian in the mid sixth century.
First Sentence: For once, the girl in the wall mosaic did not reply to the Lord Chamberlain's question.
This novel is the seventh in Reed and Mayer's John the Lord Chamberlain Mystery Series.
Unlike most high ranking government officials, John lives a relatively austere life. He lives with his lady and one servant. His modest home once belonged to a tax collector. On the wall of the study the tax collector had commissioned a beautiful mosaic.
Depicted in the mosaic is a young girl, the daughter of the tax collector. John calls her Zoe. When he has a difficult problem to solve, John talks to the enigmatic girl in the mosaic.
Then one day, a woman reveals that she is Zoe, the tax collector's daughter. But before John has a chance to talk more with her, he finds her murdered body.
So, John begins investigating her death. He soon learns that intrigue and rumor run rampant through out the palace. Parts of his life, which he thought were personal, are widely known by many.
Soon John's investigations lead him to plots which endanger him, his family, and the empire itself.
What will John discover as he tries to find justice for Zoe?
The setting of Constantinople in the waning days of the Roman Empire makes this series a unique read. John's position as one of the most powerful people in the empire definitely aids his investigations. In my opinion, John is a great character who uses his power wisely in the pursuit of justice.
I enjoyed this novel. It is a great addition to a unique and interesting series. I'll be reading the next book in the series soon.