Author(s): Benjamin Black
The emperor's mistress had been murdered, and the world had been taken hold of and turned upon its head'
Prague, 1599. Christian Stern, a young doctor, has just arrived in the city. On his first evening, he finds a young woman's body half-buried in the snow.
The dead woman is none other than the emperor's mistress, and there's no shortage of suspects. Stern is employed by the emperor himself to investigate the murder. In the search to find the culprit, Stern finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of the emperor's court - unspoken affairs, letters written in code, and bitter rivalries. But can he unmask the killer before they reach their next victim?
Christian Stern, an ambitious young scholar, arrives in Prague in the bitter winter of 1599. He stumbles upon the body of a young woman; her throat has been slashed. Seeking help, he is instead arrested for her murder and about to be tortured, when his name comes to the attention of the Emperor. That is the beginning of a swirling sequence of events that resemble a chess game in which to lose is fatal. This is classy stuff and those of us who enjoy historical fiction may be assured that the author is a safe pair of hands. Benjamin Black is the alter ego of John Banville so the sure-footed language and gorgeous sentences flow like so much melody in music. Very enjoyable. Mike