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The Sheen on the Silk

Anne Perry, Author
Anne Perry, Author . Ballantine $27 (518p) ISBN 978-0-345-50065-6
Reviewed on: 01/04/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
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A battle between 13th-century religious factions forms the crux of this interesting departure for mystery novelist Perry (A Christmas Promise ). Disguised as a eunuch, physician Anna Zarides arrives in Byzantium to learn why her brother has been accused of murdering Besarion Comnenos, a man with significant aristocratic and political ties. As she ministers to the emperor Michael Palaeologus, the Orthodox bishop Constantine, the Medea-like Zoe Chrysaphes as well as Arab, Jewish, Italian, and Greek tradespeople, she learns of the bitter divisions between Orthodoxy (whose followers do not believe in the Holy Spirit) and the Latin rite (whose followers do), as well as a power struggle among the emperor, the king of Naples and the Two Sicilies, and the pope. 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. (Mar.)

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