One For Sorrow

Reviewed by Nancy Mehl
From The Charlotte Austin Review Ltd.

Byzantium, the heart of the Roman Empire in the 6th century, contains a rich mixture of old gods, deadly rituals and Christian doctrine. Justinian rules the land as a Christian Emperor, yet The Lord Chamberlain, one of the most honored in his court, holds fast the traditions of Mithra, an ancient religion that honors the great bull god.

The Lord Chamberlain, also known as John the Eunuch, is a man of loyalty, to his Caesar and to his faith. When his friend is murdered, the quest to discover his killer leads John down a trail full of twists and turns that challenge him to examine his beliefs, his past and even his deepest fears.One for Sorrowcaptures the horror of the mutilation of John’s body as well as the maiming of his soul. When he once again faces the woman he loved long ago, and the daughter he never knew he had, John also has to face his own deeply buried desires. At the same time, he cannot forget that a murderer is walking the streets of Byzantium. Who is the killer? Who will be next? And what part does a peculiar ancient soothsayer play in the strange events that swirl around John like a troubled sea of confusion and death?

The authors weave an intricate tapestry of characters and plot along with a fascinating look into the day to day life of the Byzantine Empire. There is even a mysterious knight who claims to have been dispatched from King Arthur to search for the Holy Grail of Christ, making this a mesmerizing mix of fact and fantasy that serves to make the story even more absorbing.

Mary Reed and Eric Mayer originally introduced John the Eunuch through several short stories, and have now brought him out as a full-time ancient sleuth. One for Sorrow is a novel that is hard to put down. The authors are superb artists who paint a well-presented mystery with the colors of a civilization that seemed shrouded in history until viewed on their life-like canvas.

I whole-heartedly recommend this novel for any mystery fan. A second novel Two for Joy is set to be released by Poisoned Pen Press in October 2000, with the paperback edition of One For Sorrow. I can hardly wait.

Nancy Mehl is author of the mystery novels Sinner's Song (St Kitt's Press, 200l) and Graven Images (AmErica House, 2002) as well as Nutrition For The Golden Years (America Books, 200l).

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