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The Sheen on the Silk

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,442 Ratings  ·  338 Reviews
Arriving in Constantinople in 1273, Anna Zarides vows to prove the innocence of her twin brother, Justinian, who has been exiled to the desert for conspiring to kill a nobleman. Disguising herself as a eunuch named Anastasius, Anna moves freely about in society, maneuvering close to the key players involved in her brother’s fate, including Zoe Chrysaphes, a devious noblewo ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published September 15th 2010)
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For such a fascinating subject matter - a girl disguised as a eunuch physician tries to save her exiled brother in the 13th century Byzantium - it's a tragically dull, flat, sluggish book. It's sort of an accomplishment to make Byzantium, court intrigue, and gender confusion dull. I read it to the end to see if it remained dull, and it did remain dull, and it was steadily getting even duller as I read on.

The main problem was, I think, in the absolute lack of any suspense or mystery, because ever
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to give this book 3 stars but it didn't quite get there. I loved the setting which goes back and forth between Constantinople, Venice, Rome, Sicily, and other areas during the crusades in the 13th Century. It really is fascinating subject matter and I learned a lot about ancient Byzantium, Roman rule, and religious views during that time. I also thought some of the characters, especially Anna who poses as a Eunuch physician, were well-developed and sympathetic. However, this book ...more
Mickey Boggs
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read most, if not all, of Anne Perry's previous works and especially enjoy the two series featuring Thomas Pitt and William Monk. When I read the flyleaf description of this book I wasn't sure it was something up my alley. But I found myself totally captivated by this book. Having been to Istanbul, Venice and Messina (albeit 700+ years later) and having seen the Hagia Sophia, the canals and harbors her vivid imagery just made the whole book "pop" for me. The description of daily life in the ...more
This is one of those books where you read the first chapter and think, "Oh, how wonderful--I've found another book I can look forward to reading and in which I can lose myself and enter another world." The Sheen on the Silk is Anne Perry's masterpiece--a great historical novel set in the 1200s in Constantinople (with excursions to Venice, Sicily, Jerusalem, and Mount Sinai). The book tells of Anna Lascaris, a woman of Nicea and a physician, who disguises herself as a eunuch and moves with her tw ...more
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anne Perry departs from her bestselling Victorian mysteries for an epic but at times uneven tale of 13th century Byzantium, featuring a female physician who disguises herself as a eunuch to uncover the truth about her twin brother's involvement in the assassination of an important politician.

Still reeling from a Venetian-led assault that devastated its populace and exiled its imperial family, Byzantium is a city of crumbling secrets, besieged noble families, and labyrinthine intrigues; into thi
In search of her brother Justinian, who was accused of murder and then banished, Anna Lascaris comes to Constantinople disguised as Anastasius, a eunuch and physician by trade. Like magic, Anastasius is getting clients in all the right circles and wheeling and dealing with the greatest in the land. Meanwhile, there are plots afoot in Rome to bring Constantinople and the Orthodox Church to heel or face the threat of destruction at the hands of another crusade.

Or it was something like that. I hat
Jeannie Mancini
Murder mystery author Anne Perry has decided to deviate from her Victorian sleuthing into the world of historical fiction with her upcoming March release of The Sheen on the Silk. This is the story of how Byzantium, the city of Constantinople with it's religious mix of Orthodox Christianity, and Muslim faiths, fought hard in the 13th century to preserve their heritage and religion against the ongoing conquests from Rome.

The lead character, Anna, is masquerading as a young male eunuch in Constan
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lush, voluptuous, and exciting! This was a wonderful read by dependably excellent author Anne Perry!

This was a departure for Perry in that she took us to ancient Constantinople instead of Victorian London, where most of her other books are set. But because Anne Perry is so superb at writing in a way that paints a total picture of the world the story is set in so fully and so realistically, you really do feel like you are IN the book and experiencing the story with the characters.

Every sight, ev
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. Byzantium is recovering from the Crusade in 1204 when it was burned, plundered and the remaining citizens exiled. The exiles have returned and are rebuilding their homes when Rome demands they give up Orthodoxy or be burned and plundered again.

Plots to save their city and plots to destroy it swirl through the story. The main one involves the murder of Besarion Comnenos, a leader who favored remaining true to Orthodoxy and revolting against Rome. Anna Zarides' twin broth
Dorothy Timmerman
After finishing this one (for the second time), I turned to my mother and exclaimed that reading Anne Perry is like hearing the works of Beethoven for the first time having only learned how to play the flute. Inadequate. I am inadequate compared to the mind of this woman (with no comment on her troubled past). Of course, my mother rolled her eyes at me, but I hold to the statement. She has a bent of genius that I can only gawk at.

It helps, of course, that the story is set in the Byzantine empir
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Anne Perry (born Juliet Hulme) is a British historical novelist.

Juliet took the name "Anne Perry," the latter being her stepfather's surname. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published under this name in 1979. Her works generally fall into one of several categories of genre fiction, including historical murder mysteries and detective fiction. Many of them feature a number of recurrin
More about Anne Perry...
“Can one be both barbarian of the soul and sophisticated of the mind?” 7 likes
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