Truck Reviews Beauty Magazine Deals Men's slip on sneakers nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Weekly One PCB for select Bang & Olufsen Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Personalized Jewelry Shop by look Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon MMM MMM MMM  Echo Fire tablets: Designed for entertainment Kindle Paperwhite GNO Shop now SWMTVT18_gno

Customer Review

on May 29, 2012
Physician Anna Zarides needs to find out who really murdered Besarion Comnenos, a Byzantine nobleman, because her twin brother Justinian Lascaris has been exiled and imprisoned in a Syrian monastery for his supposed part in that murder. In order to move freely through Constantinople, and to treat any patient who may need her help, Anna disguises herself as a eunuch and takes the name Anatastius Zarides. With two servants from her family's small home town, she moves to Constantinople and begins building a medical practice that soon includes such notables as Zoe Chrysaphes, mother-in-law of Besarion Comnenos and former lover of Emperor Michael Palaeologus, and Orthodox Bishop Constantine. She slowly learns much about the intrigues of church and state (which are really the same institution) in Byzantium as her half of Christian civilization struggles with the dilemma of forced reunification with the Latin church. For it's either accept reunification, on the Pope's terms, or know for sure that the invasion people like Zoe Chrysaphes remember with horror (from 70 years ago) will happen again.

Anna's growing friendship with a half-Venetian, half-Byzantine sailor who is pursuing his own quest for personal truth proves to be the story's wild card. Much of the tension comes from Anna's rightly fearing discovery - for if she's found out to be a woman masquerading as a eunuch, the penalty will be severe and her ability to help Justinian will be gone forever. The rest comes from the politics of the era, which I found difficult to follow at times because the cast of characters was so vast. The position that eunuchs occupied in Byzantine culture intrigued me, just as it clearly intrigued the author. This "third gender" gives the book its title, and it also proves a major motive for highly placed Byzantines - who, like Bishop Constantine, most certainly could be eunuchs - to refuse reunification with the Latin church, to whom eunuchs are at best a puzzle and at worst an abomination.

A very good read, although Perry's hand isn't as sure with this universe and these characters as it is in her Victorian mystery series.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
|0Comment|Report abuse| Permalink
What's this?

What are product links?

In the text of your review, you can link directly to any product offered on To insert a product link, follow these steps:
1. Find the product you want to reference on
2. Copy the web address of the product
3. Click Insert product link
4. Paste the web address in the box
5. Click Select
6. Selecting the item displayed will insert text that looks like this: [[ASIN:014312854XHamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)]]
7. When your review is displayed on, this text will be transformed into a hyperlink, like so:Hamlet (The Pelican Shakespeare)

You are limited to 10 product links in your review, and your link text may not be longer than 256 characters.

Product Details

3.7 out of 5 stars
$6.99+ $2.99 shipping