Demetrios the Apokalyptor is a private investigator or 'solver of mysteries' in medieval Byzantium. He is not an overly aggressive investigator but is very competent and methodical.
One day he is escorted from his house to the palace. Someone attempted to kill the Emperor but only managed to kill his bodyguard. The murder weapon is a new weapon with a point that has the ability to pierce armor. The palace guard has never seen or heard of this type of weapon before. Obviously, this weapon threatens the entire nation, not just the Emperor.
Whoever has this weapon has the ability to kill anyone they desire. Demetrios is hired to find both the weapon and the person who has one. His duty is to stop the assassin from striking again but also to prevent the weapon from falling into their enemies' hands.
Mosaic Of Shadows - E-bok - Tom Harper () | Bokus
This is not an easy or safe task. Luckily, he has help in the form of Sigurd, a Varangian. The Varangian are a conquered people, who are known for their loyalty to the Emperor and their willingness to fight. As Demetrios begins his investigation, he becomes grateful for their assistance.
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The trail that points to the killer wanders through the back alleys of the empire. Demetrios will find himself dealing with pimps, mercenaries, princes and slaves before finding the necessary clues that point to the killer.
From the corner of my eye I saw her face emerge from the opening at the top of the ladder, concern and puzzlement creasing the smooth skin below her piled ringlets. She paused, reconsidered.
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Three of them, with enormous axes — and one like Prometheus, with a beard of fire. The ladder trembled, and I could imagine the rungs bending like fresh boughs under the burden of that weight. I waited for the wrench of splintered wood and tumbled watchmen, but my ladder — solid, Bithynian oak — held fast, bore them up out of the darkness and into the fresh, evening air on my roof.
There were three of them, as Zoe had said, and as she had said they were giants. All wore long coats of mail hanging to their knees, girded with broad leather belts and hung with heavy, iron maces. On their shoulders they carried great twin-headed axes, which not even the perilous ascent of the ladder had unseated. Even without the insignia of their legion, a blue square of fur-trimmed cloth fastened below their necks, they were unmistakable.
Varangians, elite guardsmen of the palace and protectors of the Emperor.
Tom Harper. . The mosaic of shadows
Though I rose slowly to greet them, the wine in the cup I held was suddenly much agitated. The nearest of the three giants spoke. Like his companions, he was fair-skinned, though our sun had ravaged his complexion everywhere save by the rim of his collar, where it was still the shade of milk.
His hair was the colour of fire, such as nature never bestowed upon our people; a mane hanging over his ox-like shoulders. He was, in short, a perfect specimen of that race which inhabits the frozen island of Thule — Britannia, as our ancestors called it when they held sway there — though he was long since departed, I thought, judging by the confident edge to his Greek. I nodded an answer to his question, feeling the absurdity of my self-styled epithet before this brutal, unadorned power. The Varangian, I thought, would not unveil a mystery: he would crush it to powder with his mace, or slice through it with a stroke of his axe like Alexander at Gordion.
What, I wondered nervously, would he do with me? Where his left hand played along the haft of his axe, I noticed a string of notches in the dark wood, unbroken almost from butt to blade. Were those the number of his victims?
Few would care to be caught abroad after dark, when the Watch came out.