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Nine for the Devil (John the Lord Chamberlain Mysteries) Hardcover – March 6, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The puzzle is challenging enough to keep readers  searching for clues, but the triumph of the authors lies in their spot-on recreation of the political and bureaucratic climate of the times."—Publishers Weekly starred review of Nine for the Devil

"Whores, beggars, lawyers, even a tax collector and a pope wander around Constantinople’s back alleys, brothels, kitchens and church sanctum sanctorums. What a relief for John (Eight for Eternity, 2010, etc.) to be finally freed of his duties and prepare to take his household off to Greece." —Kirkus Reviews of Nine for the Devil

"More complex and colorful than any Byzantine mosaic, Nine for the Devil by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, will sweep you back into the cruel intrigue-ridden court of the Emperor Justinian, where treachery and murder linger behind every shadowed column of the imperial palace in Constantinople." —Robin Burcell, award-winning author of The Bone Chamber

"Twisty plotting, fabulous dialogue, and aristocratic backstabbing drew me into this clever plot (Who killed an Empress who showed no signs of being murdered?) and I could not stop reading until I watched master problem-solver John dance his way out of the deadly wrath of his grieving emperor." Jerrilyn Farmer, bestselling author of the Madeline Bean mysteries

"Subtle, well-drawn characters, from the ascetic John to the capricious and enigmatic Justinian; deft descriptive detail revealing life in the late Roman Empire; and sharp dialogue make this another winner in this outstanding historical series" —Publishers Weekly starred review of Eight for Eternity


 

 

About the Author

After 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow, the husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer extended the series with Two For Joy, Three For A Letter, Four For A Boy, and Five for Silver. In June 2003 Booklist Magazine named the John the Eunuch novels one of its four Best Little Known Series.


The husband and wife team of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer had published several short John the Eunuch detections in mystery anthologies and in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prior to 1999's highly acclaimed first full length novel, One for Sorrow.
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Product Details

  • Series: John the Lord Chamberlain Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590589947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590589946
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,291,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mary and Eric are a great writing team, and their series (starting with "One for a Boy") is a fine example of historical fiction done right. They have mastered the very difficult art of making each character's voice distinct, without resorting to pseudo accents or artificial cant. And obviously they have done their homework, making the historical setting accurate, while writing prose at times transcendently beautiful.

My only criticism is that occasionally the sentence structure made me stop and say, "Huh? What was that?", thus pulling me out of the narrative to parse out the meaning of the sentence.

Example: "But Cosmas and Damian did seem inclined to aid a Mithran Lord Chamberlain." I expected there to be "not" in the sentence. Chapter Sixty-one.

Another example: "...it would also be difficult not to be able to sleep at your post for fear the emperor might suddenly appear and catch you at it." Awkward. Chapter Sixty-one.

And there were a few, just a few, typos and misplaced commas. Nothing serious.

All in all, a book well worth reading--and while you're at it, read the whole series. You will enjoy them all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This adventure opens with the death of the Empress Theodora after a fairly long and painful illness, probably cancer from the symptoms described in the literature of the time. Justinian says that he’s confident she was poisoned, and after summarily executing the guards who had been supposed to guard the room and the cooks who’d prepared her tiny meals, he assigns John to investigate and find out who was the guilty party. Suspicion falls on his old friend Anatolius, but John doesn’t believe it. A lot of other fairly prominent people in Constantinople are also suspects, and he pursues them as well. As the authors say, the plot of this one could have been torn from the headlines of the papers of the day if the Romans had only gotten around to inventing newspa-pers. As it is, there’s a fair amount of information on the events in surviving primary sources, but no firm solution, so Reed and Mayer’s speculative answer is probably as good as any. Another good entry into this series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mary and Eric are a great writing team, and their series (starting with "One for Sorrow") is a fine example of historical fiction done right. They have mastered the very difficult art of making each character's voice distinct, without resorting to pseudo accents or artificial cant. And obviously they have done their homework, making the historical setting accurate, while writing prose at times transcendently beautiful.

My only criticism is that occasionally the sentence structure made me stop and say, "Huh? What was that?", thus pulling me out of the narrative to parse out the meaning of the sentence.

Example: "But Cosmas and Damian did seem inclined to aid a Mithran Lord Chamberlain." I expected there to be "not" in the sentence. Chapter Sixty-one.

Another example: "...it would also be difficult not to be able to sleep at your post for fear the emperor might suddenly appear and catch you at it." Awkward. Chapter Sixty-one.

And there were a few, just a few, typos and misplaced commas. Nothing serious.

All in all, a book well worth reading--and while you're at it, read the whole series. You will enjoy them all.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was searching for historical mysteries and skipped by the John, the Lord Chamberlain books serveral times. I just didn't think the series would appeal to me. Then I ran out of books to read and the library was closed. I searched Kindle and when I came to this series I decided to give it a try. I enjoyed the story and have read all of the books in the series. I had thought the books would go in order by numbers. One of the books, I think it is Four For a Boy, actually tells the beginning of the story of John becoming Lord Chamberlain.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Historical fiction/mystery set in the 6th century in Emperor Justinian's Constantinople. Empress Theodora has just died, and John, Justinian's Lord Chamberlain, is tasked with finding out who murdered her. The catch is, neither he nor anyone else except Justinian believes she was murdered. She appears to have died of natural causes. But no one else's opinion matters when it comes to the Emperor.

The husband/wife writing team of Eric Mayer and Mary Reed take great pains to get most of their historical facts correct in this well constructed mystery with great characters and vivid settings. You think you don't like historical mysteries like this? Think again; that's what I thought too, but I'm nine books into the series and I have thoroughly enjoyed every last one of these offerings. I truly feel like I can "see" the city and the residences and the splendor of the Imperial residence and the churches juxtaposed with sometimes seedier and more squalid settings around the city. I believe in these characters, both those taken from history like the Emperor and his "other" Lord Chamberlain (Narses) and generals like Germanus and Belisarius and all the others, and the fictional characters like the Captain of the Excubitors Felix, the physician Gaius, the lawyer Anatolius and of course John, the eunuch who was captured, castrated and enslaved by the Persians as a young man and who has risen through the palace ranks to become Lord Chamberlain.

I'm not sure, but this feels like it might be the end of this series. Is it? I hope not. But if you haven't read any of these, and you like mysteries, you have a treat waiting for you. Don't let the historical aspect, or the fact that they are set in the 6th century, hold you back.
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