An Empire for Ravens cover


Starred Review
"Reed and Mayer's outstanding 12th whodunit set in the sixth century CE (after 2015's Murder in Megara) takes John the Eunuch, a worshipper of the sun god Mithra and former lord chamberlain to Emperor Justinian, from Greece, where he has been in exile from Constantinople, to Rome, which is under siege by the Goths. General Felix, one of Justinian's emissaries, has summoned John to help him deal with unspecified troubles. His arrival is viewed suspiciously by the general in charge of the Roman garrison, Diogenes, who dispatches a courier to determine whether Justinian knows that John has left Greece. To John’s further dismay; he learns that Felix has been missing for days, and he races to find him in the city's labyrinthine catacombs. His explorations uncover a dead man, stabbed with an ancient knife used in ritual sacrifices. The cleverness of the plot and the solution to the murder are among the series’s best."

"The 12th franchise entry (Murder in Megara, 2015, etc.) places the reader in the middle of the turmoil of sixth-century Rome and into a tense historical mystery."

"This twelfth story in the John, the Lord Chamberlain, series does not disappoint. Although the story starts slowly, it builds to a crescendo of violence, betrayal, and tragedy as the answer to Felix’s disappearance unfolds. John is an interesting and sympathetic character, enigmatic but immensely likable.Mary Reed and Eric Mayer have produced a novel rich in history, a testament to the incredible amount of research they put into each story. One could believe that you were in the city with John, sharing his adventures, so vivid is the imagery. Recommended!" -- DIANA HOCKLEY, KINGS RIVER LIFE

"I'm a fan of this series that I consider one of the best in the historical mystery field. It's well researched, well written and I love the characters and the historical setting. This time we're not in Constantinople but in Rome during one of the barbarian sieges. Once I started the book I was hooked and I was enthralled by both the plot and the historical events described in the book. A wonderful reading experience and I hope there'll be soon another instalment in this series. Highly recommended!" -- ANNARELLA, GOODREADS

"The twelfth book in the Lord Chamberlain Mystery series, An Empire of Ravens is an interesting story that, once again, blends historical fiction with mystery. Set in an era that defined Imperial Rome, it is atmospheric and very descriptive. There is a lot of background to the stories involved, which is very satisfying, making this a good mystery read. All in all an interesting book to read, it is strongly recommended to fans of historical mystery books." -- GIANNA, GOODREADS

"My favorite parts of the novel were the believable descriptions of an imperial city in collapse, depopulated, demoralized, in contrast to John’s usual haunts of rising Greek Constantinople. Senator’s daughters masquerade as their servants, hoping to avoid kidnapping. A former beggar is now pope. A remnant of chariot racing provides sporting types with a sad compulsion, a way to feel good about themselves and a way to lighten their purses with fruitless betting. Householders can no longer afford to pay the guards to protect what they no longer own. Orphans live in abandoned buildings, creeping out at night to steal food. The stumps of forests chopped down for firewood now serve as display counters for those who have a trapped rabbit or two to sell at outlandish prices. Dare I say it? Those finding themselves in a modern empire on the verge of collapse keep looking for instructive parallels." -- Ann Chamberlain, HNR Issue 87 (February 2019)