Cheryl (Angola NY)
Seven for a Secret
Because Seven for a Secret is the next in a series, I originally felt that I had to have read the earlier books to understand the characters, but I soon found that between the writing itself and the Glossary at the end of the book, I was able to enjoy the story.
John, Lord Chamberlain to Justinian 1, attempts to unravel the death of a mysterious woman, but the most interesting part of the book is the interaction with the merchants and denizens of Constantinople. I was fascinated with the historical aspects of the story.
Mary (Watertown NY)
Appearances can be deceiving
Reed and Mayers' carefully crafted mystery is a delightful opus which takes the reader on an exotic journey to 6th century Constantinople. There, the Lord Chamberlain to Justinian investigates the murder of a young woman, but finds the mystery changes slightly with each suspect he interviews until its threads envelope him like a spider's web threatening his life and the lives of those he loves.Keeping the mystery tight, and the writing clear, the story comes to a satisfactory and satisfying conclusion, depositing this reader back in her arm chair...and keeping in mind the politics of Justinian and Theodora, with her head safely on her shoulders.
Doris (Angora MN)
Seven for a Secret
The plot of Seven for a Secret does stand alone, however, I would have understood the characters better if I had read earlier books in this series.
The streets and people of old Constantinople do come alive to the reader.
Interesting characters and an absorbing story line make this a good read for those who enjoy mystery stories.
Cynthia (Puyallup WA)
If it needs a glossary...
This story is very complex and while the setting is interesting and unique - the storyline is like a very small needle in a haystack of detail. Granted, the writing is superb and the authors are very knowledgeable on this section of history, still the reading is laborious.
Jean (Worcester MA)
Sven For A Secret
Through the investigation of the Lord Chamberlain, we are transported into Constantinople, 6th century CE. We experience the life of the privileged and the deprived, we roam the streets and alleys of Constantinople and are introduced to life under a dictator.
The story reminds one of an Elizabethan mystery where one is placed in a circumstance that is foreign and uncertain. A wonderful mystery in the classical genre.
If you enjoy an adventure in a foreign land this is a book for you. Great reading for people of all ages.
Jeanne (Ludlow MA)
Fair mystery but disappointing
Seven for a Secret was an interesting mystery with unusual characters, but I wanted to know more about the Lord Chamberlain. I suppose the earlier books told about why he was so terribly harmed and how he got to be Head Chamberlain, but this book cannot stand on its own without telling this story. Authors such as Stephen Saylor and Charles Todd manage but the Reeds sacrifice character depth for the story; however they did get me to buy volume 1 and that's a good thing!
Norma (Secaucus NJ)
Seven for a Secret
This novel is seventh in a series of detective novels by the husband and wife writing team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. It is set in 6th century Constantinople (present day Istanbul). The main character is John the Lord Chamberlain, a high official in the government of Emperor Justinian (482-565, ruled 527-565). The city has just recovered from a plague and much of the population has died. John is living in a home on the palace grounds. The home used to belong to a tax collector who lost favor with the current administration. John has been “talking” to a girl that is on a wall mosaic in his study. She has become a sort of muse for John and he has named her Zoe.
He actually meets her in a square but she runs away before they can speak. She is then found murdered. John tries to solve the murder enlisting the help of his friends Anatolius a lawyer and Felix, the head of the palace guards. The authors do an excellent job of setting the scene and giving the reader a taste of life in Constantinople. The city is small. You can walk from one end to another in a short period of time. There is much palace intrigue, and conflict between those who support Emperor Justinian and those who don’t. Rumors of a coup are circulating. Justinian’s wife Theodora is evil and is believed to be the power behind the emperor.
You can draw many parallels between this time and many others through out history. Even though Constantinople is officially Christian, many people have not converted; they still worship their pagan gods in secret. John investigates the murder by interviewing craftsman, shop keepers and people in government. The story has plenty of twists and an unpredictable ending.
There is also a helpful glossary of terms and dates at the back. I would recommend this book, especially to readers who enjoy period pieces.