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One for Sorrow
 
by
Mary Reed
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One for Sorrow (John the Eunuch #1)

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Byzantium, capitol of the 6th century Roman Empire, simmers a rich stew of creeds, cultures, and citizens with a sprinkling of cutthroats and crimes. John the Eunuch, Emperor Justinian's Lord Chamberlain, orders a Christian court while himself observing the rites of Mithra. Thomas, a knight from Britain, Ahasuerus, a soothsayer, and two ladies from Crete stir up events and ...more
ebook, 292 pages
Published May 27th 2010 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 363)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.25* of five

The Book Description: Byzantium, capitol of the 6th century Roman Empire, simmers a rich stew of creeds, cultures, and citizens with a sprinkling of cutthroats and crimes. John, Emperor Justinian’s Lord Chamberlain, supervises a Christian court while himself observing the rites of Mithra. Thomas, a knight from Britain; Ahasuerus, a soothsayer; and two ladies from Crete stir up events and old memories for John, who must discover how the visitors link to the death of a treasu
...more
Lolly's Library
First of all, I have to give kudos to the authors: It's obvious they did their research and did it well. They managed to layer a wealth of information into the novel, immersing the reader in Byzantine Constantinople without impeding the flow of narration or cutting it off altogether with large info dumps. All other considerations aside, the novel does a wonderful job of bringing that chaotic and rich city to life. That said, the story itself is thin. According to the biography, the authors, a hu ...more
Italo Italophiles
This adult historical mystery series is set during a time that usually gets overlooked by historical novelists: the Byzantine Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire that spanned 1000 years. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Roman traditions, law, architecture, sports, literature, etc. carried on under the Greek-speaking Eastern Empire. And under Emperor Justinian, the Empire grew back to be the major Mediterranean power.

The protagonist is the all-powerful and unpredictable Emperor Justinian'
...more
Victoria Gaile
I was disappointed in this - I was quite looking forward to it because of the historical setting charged with religious complexity. But, although the background bits were great, I never cared that much for any of the characters. And I didn't like the ending.

I might try the next one from the library, in hopes that the characters will develop in more interesting ways. But I don't have high hopes.
Lucinda
One for Sorrow (Poisoned Pen 1999) introduces John the Eunuch, Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor Justinian in Byzantium (Constantinople), capitol of the 6th century Roman Empire. When Leukos, the palace Keeper of the Plate, is found murdered in an alley, the emperor asks John to investigate. Leukos had consulted a traveling soothsayer the night of his death, and John is convinced that his death is more than a random mugging. Thomas, a knight from the court of King Arthur, has traveled to Constanti ...more
Tucker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom Romig
Not only a clever murder mystery but, even more interestingly, a wonderfully detailed and atmospheric account of class, culture, creeds, crime, and living conditions in sixth-century Byzantium. (Hint: Since many of the common names of the time are unfamiliar to most readers, jot down the names and positions of the characters as you go along so as to keep them all straight.)
Vickie
Mysteries can be hard to write I would imagine. Believable story and characters the reader relates to. One set in the ancient past would be even more difficult with the research and not letting modern-isms get in the way.
Mary Reed and Eric Mayer did an amazing job with all that it took to make this an intriguing story and mystery.
John is the Lord Chamberlain to the Emperor Justinian, in charge of the Emperor's Christian court while John worships, dangerously, as a non-Christian. His friend, Le
...more
Cheryl
Jul 02, 2009 Cheryl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Mystery fans
This was sooo much fun. Lord Chamberlain John the Eunuch in the court of Justinius tries to unravel the mystery of his friends death and the Holy Grail all in one great romp in medieval Constantinople. But, don't mistake this completely for light reading -- there's serious history in here woven intricately with real and imagined characters.

If there is a downside it would be that I read this on my Kindle so didn't get to the glossary until the end when it may have been more helpful if I'd checke
...more
Martin Turner
This is not a bad story by any means and is nearly very good, but I couldn't quite give it a four rating as it seemed to promise so much without actually delivering. The Roman period is well represented as a period covered by various authors and the hero here finds he has a series of murders to solve, which while realistically struggling with, all seems to come together near the end when lots of realisations conveniently fall into place. This went on to become a series of books and I hope the ch ...more
Vorbis
Found this at the library with a blurb saying it was possibly perfect historical detective fiction. Which maybe it is, but I found it a hard slog.

It jumps about between pov characters, there's no consistent line of inquiry for the detective - it all seems quite random, what he's doing or going to do next. I didn't care for or about any of the characters and all in all it just wasn't for me. I feel the same way I did about the Name of the Rose, only it was better written and had an intriguing int
...more
Diana Bringardner
What a wonderful surprise after a bit of reader's block. The description, "Painting an enticing picture of sixth-century Byzantium....court intrigue and the conflict of religious beliefs...", didn't grab me at all but it got good reviews from other mystery readers. I am so glad I did! The description is accurate but there is so much more with a nicely done mystery.
Kristin
I wasn't able to finish this before it had to go back to the library and I wasn't involved enough in the plot to want to renew it. The research that went into the book is evident and very interesting, but sadly none of the characters were developed enough that I wanted or needed to know what happened to them.
pdarnold
It wasn't great nor was it just OK - so I guess I liked it. Historic fictional mystery, a little romance, friendship, family, a brothel done Roman style and without excruciating details, a knight of Britain, eunuchs, death, bull jumpers and a soothsayer to boot. I will continue the series.
Beth
I enjoyed the book very readable with interesting characters but I can't say that anyone particularly grabbed me. The research seemed well done and accurate though I don't know much about the Byzantine period. I'd read another but not go out of my way to follow the series.
Joanna McDarby
I liked this book, if you like historical crime this is gentle going as it doesn't rely too heavily on explanations of things past. If you are really interested in the Emperor Justinian you can look him up!
I bought the next one in the series on the strength of it. :-)
Phair
Interesting protagonist and setting but not as compelling nor as "alive" as the Falco mysteries by Davis. While I looked forward to reading on I did not end with the desire to jump right into the next book.
Simon
Nov 17, 2012 Simon marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this, but I found it dull, and there were places where the plot editing had just become confused - a line of dialogue or an action attributed to a character not present in the scene!
Anne
I quite enjoyed this one, and would read more in the series, as it was engrossing and fairly well-written. It could have been improved upon in a few places, but overall a good read. :)
Sandy
I find the Byzantine Empire pretty interesting, but had a hard time becoming engaged with John the Eunuch, so I eventually gave up and put him back in the library.
Stephen
easy going crime read based in 6th century constantinople and the first in the series, looking forward to the second in the series
Margareth8537
So very glad I came across this character. Beautifully written, fascinating setting
Jennifer
One for Sorrow: A John the Eunuch Mystery by Mary Reed (1999)
Ma
A thoroughly enjoyable mystery. Highly recommended.
Zoe
Zoe marked it as to-read
Dec 16, 2014
Argum
Argum marked it as to-read
Dec 15, 2014
Nancy
Nancy marked it as to-read
Dec 13, 2014
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Mary Reed and Eric Mayer began writing together in 1992. They have contributed to a number of anthologies such as Royal Whodunnits, MammothBook of Historical Whodunnits and Mammoth Book of Shakespearean Detectives, as well as to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. They have also
...more
More about Mary Reed...
Two for Joy (John the Eunuch, #2) Seven for a Secret (John the Eunuch, #7) Four for a Boy (John the Eunuch, #4) Three for a Letter (John the Eunuch, #3) Nine for the Devil (John the Eunuch, #9)

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