New York Times bestselling novelist Anne Perry, the undisputed Queen of Victorian mysteries and the author of an acclaimed series set during World War I, now broadens her canvas with her first major stand-alone bookan epic historical novel set in thirteenth-century Constantinople, where a woman must live a lie in her quest to uncover the truth.
Arriving in the ancient Byzantine city in the year 1273, Anna Zarides has only one mission: to prove the innocence of her twin brother, Justinian, who has been exiled to the desert for conspiring to kill Bessarion, a nobleman.
Disguising herself as a eunuch named Anastasius, Anna moves freely about in society, using her skills as a physician to manoeuver close to the key players involved in her brothers fate. With her medical practice thriving, Anna crosses paths with Zoe Chrysaphes, a devious noblewoman with her own hidden agenda, and Giuiliano Dandolo, a ship's captain conflicted not only by his mixed Venetian-Byzantine heritage but by his growing feelings for Anastasius.
Trying to clear her brother's name, Anna learns more about Justinian's life and reputationincluding his peculiar ties to Bessarion's beautiful widow and his possible role in a plot to overthrow the emperor. This leaves Anna with more questions than answer, and time is running out. For an even greater threat lies on the horizon: Another Crusade to capture the Holy Land is brewing, and leaders in Rome and Venice have set their sights on Constantinople for what is sure to be a brutal invasion. Annas discoveries draw her inextricably closer to the dangers of the emperor's treacherous courtwhere it seems that no one is exactly who he or she appears to be.
"As the danger, betrayals, and dead bodies mount, Perry conveys an earnest message about obsession, sacrifice, and faith at a dazzling crossroads of East and West civilizations." - Publishers Weekly
"Both the mystery and the love story are enjoyable, but it is the city itself that is the true star ... fans of historical fiction and Perry's historical mysteries will enjoy this." - Library Journal
"The history is consistently more surprising than the fiction in this grandly scaled epic of a turbulent period." - Kirkus Reviews
"This could open up a whole new readership for the versatile Perry." - Booklist
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Anne Perry, born Juliet Marion Hulme in Blackheath, London, is the author of the Thomas Pitt series. Among Anne Perry's novels featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt are The Whitechapel Conspiracy, Half Moon Street, Bedford Square, Brunswick Gardens, and Ashworth Hall. She also writes the popular novels featuring Victorian private investigator William Monk - among them, Funeral in Blue, Slaves of Obsession, The Twisted Root, A Breach of Promise, and The Silent Cry. "Her grasp of Victorian character and conscience still astonishes," said the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Perry won an Edgar award in 2000 with her short story "Heroes". The main character in the story features in an ambitious five-book series set during the First World War.
Anne Perry lives in Scotland.
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