The Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry

Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: Christian church wars
Main Characters: Anna Zarides
Series: no
Dates Read: March 13 - March 28
Number of pages: 528
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Foreign Languages, Extra curricular activites

Anne Perry, renown for her Victorian mysteries, has taken a backwards turn in time and place and landed in Constantinople in the late 13th century. The book centers around Anastasius Zarides (Anna), a Venetian woman who disguises herself as a eunuch, and arrives in Constantinople ready to practice medicine and try to find the truth about a murder that has been blamed on her twin brother. At the same time as Anna is searching for the truth, the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine) and Western Roman Churches are battling for supremacy.

This was a great plot idea and the background brought multiple possibilities to the table but this book just didn't work for me. With Anna as a eunuch, there really wasn't much of a way for her to interact with the other characters except in her capacity as a doctor and that was very flat and very boring very quickly. There were so many characters that were conspiring against this person and that person it was hard to keep things straight.

The descriptions of the location and surrounding/competing areas was just what was expected from Anne Perry, but the book was a disappointment. I feel that the many subplots detracted from the book. I could have had a much tighter structure which would have made the book easier to read and much more enjoyable, IMO.

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