The Sheen on the Silk: A Novel by Anne Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I found this quite a challenging read. This is partly because what I know about Byzantium can be written on a postage stamp, but this is certainly not a novel you can read with half your mind on TV or what you're having for dinner. Such inattention will leave you lost and having to go back to find out who this character is and what their motives might be.
Anna Zarides, a doctor, arrives in Constantinople in disguise as a eunuch, trying to establish the innocence of her brother, who has been banished to a remote monastry. Well, I thought, that's not very likely is it? She'll never get away with that! And she doesn't, because one character after another works out what she is and you wonder when and by whom she will be betrayed.
Set against a background of a threatened crusade against the city, and an attempt to avert this by an unpopular submission to Rome, the story is full of complex intrigue. If you like action, as such, you may find it rather boring as much of the book is devoted to Anna picking up patients and making discreet enquiries.
I thought it was worth the effort in the end, but this is not a book that will appeal to all.
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