A brilliant standalone novel from Anne Perry, the undisputed master of the Victorian mystery. 1273 - the gorgeous, cosmopolitan and enlightened city of Byzantium is in acute danger. Only an alliance with the Church of Rome will stop the crusading fervour of the Italian and French troops on its borders, determined to strike through Byzantium to ...Read MoreA brilliant standalone novel from Anne Perry, the undisputed master of the Victorian mystery. 1273 - the gorgeous, cosmopolitan and enlightened city of Byzantium is in acute danger. Only an alliance with the Church of Rome will stop the crusading fervour of the Italian and French troops on its borders, determined to strike through Byzantium to reach Jerusalem. Faced with the prospect of surrendering its gentile Orthodox theology to Roman Catholicism, the city is in turmoil as opposing factions seek to assert their authority. For Anna, the brutal conflict only echoes her own life. Recently arrived in Byzantium to find out why her brother has been exiled for a murder she believes he did not commit, Anna is forced to pose as a eunuch so that she can move freely in all levels of society. As she does so she finds herself in the middle of intrigues that may not only free, or condemn, her brother, but will also determine the fate of Byzantium itself.Read Less
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I just abandoned this book 3/4 of the way through and decided to check other readers' reviews to see if it was just me. It isn't. Most of the other reviewers found the book to be as deadly dull as I did. I'm a real Anne Perry fan and have read all her mysteries, so when I saw "The Sheen on the Silk" I grabbed it. The problem is it never seems to get going; the main character, Anna, just keeps circling around her various patients in Byzantium asking indiscreet questions (that never seem to get her into trouble).
I thought one of the two high points in the book (before I gave up and tossed it on the charity pile) was when one of the villains, Zoe, artfully contrives to murder one of her enemies and have another enemy take the blame, but her plot is foiled by Anna. The other high point was when Anna (in her eunuch disguise) travels to the Sinai see her imprisoned brother and to retrieve a portrait of the Virgin Mary (supposedly painted from life) for Zoe. However, all too soon Anna is back to her boring medical rounds in Byzantium - at this point I realized that there were 100 pages still to go, and said "forget it"!
Anne Perry is usually such a fascinating storyteller (not to mention a convicted murderer herself, which definitely adds interest) - I don't know what happened here, but she has certainly gone down the wrong path with this book.
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