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The Mosaic of Shadows (Demetrios Askiates #1)

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Byzantium, 1096. A mysterious assassin releases an arrow aimed at the emperor---but he has more than just a man in his sights. A keystone of a crumbling empire, the emperor is the solitary figure holding all the enemies in check. And if he falls, the mightiest power in Christendom will be torn apart.
Demetrios Askiates, unveiler of mysteries, is hired to catch the would-be-
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Minotaur Books (first published 2003)
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Markus
Out across the snow-swept fields the sun had sunk beneath the rim of the clouds, facing us like a glowing eye. The sky and land alike were caught in its crimson glare, shimmering red, but that was not what had silenced the watchmen. On the ridge across the plain, some two miles distant, an army had appeared. They rode towards us with the sun behind them, their spears like pricks of flame and their banners dark above them. They were moving forward, but as one row passed into the shadows below the ...more
Paul
In theory, I shouldn't really like this book. The majority of historical fiction that ticks my boxes tends to be that which is based around battles, bloody intrigue and grisly realism. In other words, a lot of action.

Disregard the rather misleading blurb from the back cover of the book. This book, for the most part, revolves around a plot to assassinate the Emperor Alexius by a shadowy fanatical monk and an amazingly modern weapon called a tzangara (or a crossbow to you and me). There is relativ
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FicusFan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn
This book was entertaining though not as engaging as I was hoping for.

Demetrios is a good character, his daughters and family life felt superfluous to the story and his love interest was likable but expendable, as a love interest that is, the rest of her story could have been expanded.

The beginning of the book started out well, with the emperor and assassins and politics but that never followed through into a really good historical setting. Most of the book felt like a modern mystery in costum
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Martin Smrz
The detective part was extremely slow moving. The historical part was kind of strangely vague and as a whole it did was not really exiting book
Felix Felicium
Jun 30, 2014 Felix Felicium rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of mystery, historical novels, and especially Byzantinists.
Shelves: byzantine-stuff
I started reading this book for the very simple reason that there are few historical novels set in Byzantium, let alone Byzantium after Late Antiquity, so I'll pretty much take what I can get. There were definitely things I didn't like - and they were big things (at least to me) - but despite being pretty disgruntled by the ending I'm still pretty pleased with the book overall. I'll definitely be heading on to the next book in the trilogy.

When I first started this book I really thought it was go
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Peregrine 12
Dec 23, 2010 Peregrine 12 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of crusaders; historical fiction
Recommended to Peregrine 12 by: Kristian, in Canada
Exciting read; the ending left me feeling a little flat, though, especially when the bad guy reveals himself. But this is a solid four-star read.

This book was referred to me by a friend whose hobby was participating in the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA); his persona/character: a crusader. He studied history, swordplay, etc, for his part and fell in love with this book, he said, for its accuracy. Also it's a very good story, as he told me repeatedly.
Victor
Although not completely dissapointed with The Mosaic of Shadows, I was not completely satisfied. At times, I just wanted to lurch that book at my wall, and at others, I glanced at my clock wishing time could only stop so I could read some more, derived from the brilliance at which the story is flowing.

Tom Harper is able to come up with a great idea for a story: we Byzantium at the peak of its decadence, surrounded by enemies north and south. A clever plot to kill the Emperor is almost succesful.
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Jakenv
Referred to by a friend who knows my enjoyment of historical mysteries. Found writing style to reflect period in understandable way. Lots of action scenes so reader kept interested in progress of investigation. Did not see ending coming which is a big plus for any novel. Will look for more from this author.
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Mi piacciono i thriller a sfondo storico e questo in particolar modo mi ha entusiasmato molto. Da una parte perchè ha un'ambientazione che non è proprio la classica (Inghilterra, Francia, etc...) ma bensì Bisanzio e l'impero Bizantino e dall'altra parte perchè i personaggi e non solo quello principale sono costruiti benissimo. Il contesto storico e i riferimenti sono puntuali e precisi ma comprensibilissimi e mai pesanti da digerire. Insomma anche se ci troviamo davanti al consueto "Mr. X indaga ...more
Captain Marcus
For those of you who are into historical fiction, you are in for a treat. This book stars Demetrios Askiates, a former Byzantine soldier who has managed to become, improbably, a detective in Constantinople. Demetrios has many problems to deal with. The Emperor was almost assassinated. The First Crusade, full of barbaric Franks and Normans, is on its way to the Holy Land. And his daughter has just discovered boys.

This sounds cliche, but it kept me glued to the pages throughout the night and I'm s
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Marisa
I had a really hard time reading this book. It seemed like every time I started reading I would fall asleep. It was a little boring and over descriptive in the beginning, but a little before page 200 it got really good and held my attention from there. The characters I really liked there were not enough of. I also thought that there would be a little more excitement and adventure since it was a mystery. The mystery part got a little over shadoed by all the hisotry, which, while interesting, wasn ...more
Harriet
3.5 stars. Ebook (not Kindle). Pretty good political mystery set in the Byzantine Greek era. The narrative is sometimes lyrical and sometimes terse. Demeterios has a reputation for discovering the truth, yet he struggles against political intrigues that are difficult to unravel. Some parts are interesting reading about the culture, military, and courtly and religious rituals. (Though, a few times the description seems a bit superficial, perhaps in order not to overwhelm the reader?)
Ghost14
My first story-laced book centred around teh crusades. And boy! What a start :)

Light hotheadedness apart, the book gives what you would least expect when you start reading it, and that is a suspense thriller set against the backdrop of the first crusade. So the surprise element , the novelty of the concept and the racy tempo add to a gripping story-line. It is also curiosity-inductively new for one who knows less about the history of the crusades.
Linda
This is the first book I've read by this author, and I enjoyed it. While I'm not jumping up and down with excitement, it did the job for me.....which is to live vicariously in a completely different time and place. I appreciate the author's research, and love what I see and learn with my mind's eye. I believe that this may actually be Harper's first novel, so I look forward to others in the future.
Liviu
I was intrigued by the comparison of this series with the awesome Roma sub Rosa by Steven Saylor and the beginning was promising enough, but later the book forgot that it is set in Byzantium ~1095-6 and it became a contemporary thriller in disguise with the author losing the historical perspective big time; still entertaining enough but not as good as i expected; sequels are awful though
Winnie
Having become quite a fan of Tom Harper I searched out this trilogy and was not disappointed - I found the characters memorable and read the entire three books in record time.
Kwing (Mook)
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Snail's pace plot progression. I kept putting this book down and had to forcemyself to finish.
Caner
Apr 23, 2007 Caner rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle ages, byzantine, crusade enthusiasts
badly written and not really thrilling for a historical thriller. Most of the book is highly boring.
Newell
An interesting read. The detective thread could have been better.
Lisa H.
A fun read, based on historical events, not high art but a good time.
Borislav
a simple and good read for lovers of Byzantine history.
riri73
riri73 added it
Nov 22, 2014
Márcio Belo-Filho
Márcio Belo-Filho marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
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Tom Harper was born in West Germany in 1977 and grew up in Germany, Belgium and America; he now lives in England. He is chair of the Crime Writers' Association and also a member of the Historical Novels Society and the Society of Authors.

Tom Harper also writes historical adventures as Edwin Thomas.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thre
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