The extraordinary story of the crisis of the First Crusade, a powerful novel of intrigue, sacrifice, savagery and holy war.
Byzantium, 1096.When a mysterious assassin looses his arrow at the emperor, he has more than a man in his sights; the keystone of a crumbling empire, he is the solitary figure holding its enemies in check.If he falls, then the mightiest power in Christendom will be torn apart.
Aware of the stakes, the emperor hires Demetrios Askiates, the unveiler of mysteries, to catch the would-be-killer. As the armies of east and west confront each other, and the assassin creeps ever closer to his prey, Demetrios must untangle the golden web of intrigue which surrounds the emperor before the city – and the empire – are drowned in blood.
“'Tom Harper writes with strident clarity in this epic tale of murder and betrayal, bloodshed and romance. Gripping from the first page, the reader is swept up in this colourful and convincing portrayal of an Emperor and his realm, under siege. Well-researched, and cinematic in its imagery, this is a fast-paced and exciting debut.' Ink”
“Ink'Tom Harper's speciality is a hitherto unvisited era in historical crime fiction- It's a world which Harper brings exuberantly to life, clearly revelling in its teeming, tumultuous extravagance.' Yorkshire Evening Post”
“'Harper effortlessly draws the reader into the court intrigues and conspiracies of 11th-century Byzantium in his outstanding debut' Publishers' Weekly”
“Excellent. Like Steven Saylor, the master of the ancient Roman historical Harper effortlessly draws the reader into an unfamiliar time, bringing alive the characters and their motivations”
“'Gripping for its portrayal of the Crusader leaders ... this is a great example from a trustworthy historian'”