"[A] spot-on recreation of the political and bureaucratic climate of the times." —Publishers Weekly STARRED review
The year is 548 and Empress Theodora is dead. Emperor Justinian suspects murder and orders John, his Lord Chamberlain, to find her killer or suffer the consequences. Many aristocrats at the imperial court had reason to want Theodora dead. General Artabanes, Justinian's cousin Germanus, and Antonina and her husband General Belisarius have suffered at Theodora's hands. Might Gaius, palace physician, have tampered with Theodora's medication? Even Pope Vigilius, detained in the capital by a religious controversy, is not above suspicion.
Meanwhile, John must also grapple with domestic upheavals. His daughter is about to give birth and his aging servant Peter is dying. Will John be able to serve justice, his loved ones, and the emperor?