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Memoirs of a Byzantine Eunuch

Author: Christopher Harris

Cover illustration: Willi Gray  

Zeno, living in ninth-century Byzantium, has had a rough time of it.Taken from his native town and castrated by Norse pirates, he finds himself stranded by them in a tavern in the suburbs of Constantinople.Then, unsuspecting, he is swept off by the greatest missionary of the age to serve its greatest scholar, St Photius the Great.Though his social status rises, his problems multiply:he must help his new master in his ambitions, seek out depravities for Michael III,and guards his adopted sister Eudocia. He fails, of course, as he is dragged ever deeper into the eerie world of the palce eunuch, the real rulers of the empire

Murrough O'Brien in The Independent on Sunday

The material about Zeno, the emasculated hero,is far more interesting, and questions the nature and social function of the eunuch.

SB Kelly in Scotland on Sunday

Harris while writing a good yarn also treats us to the clear presentation of the ideas of Aristotle, Plato and long-forgotten philosophers combined with observations about the development of Christian orthodoxy and the exotic nature of the castrated, or eunuchs. Zeno is captured by Barbarians, castrated as a boy,raised with girls and bought by a noted scholar because of his feigned knowledge of a barbarian language.Zeno develops a natural intelligence but is drawn into a labyrinth of sex, heresy, murder and plotting. An army general, a bisexual boy emperor, a peasant usurper and a half Viking empress all compete for authority, but real power lies amongst the decadent eunuch of the palace and Zeno plays even more dangerous games until he is forced to betray those he loves. Amazing.

Ivan Willis in What's on in London

Harris serves up a delightful mix of political intrigue, personal ambition and amoral, polysexual debauchery.

Gay Times

If there is such a thing an archetypal Dedalus novel, the this is surely it. Here is a book that has the decadent ambience, well researched historical background and racy literary style that this small (but perfectly formed) publishing house is getting a deserved name for. Harris paints a very convincing picture of a place and time not often portrayed in fiction and having Zeno as a narrator made it all seem more immediate. If you are looking for something a bit different, or just a jolly good read, I can recommend this one.

Rachel A.Hyde in The Historical Novel Review

There is no doubt that Memoirs of a Byzantine Eunuch is an entertaining novel.

Shaun Tougher in The Anglo Hellenic Review

RRP: £9.99

No. of pages: 364

Publication date: 27.06.2002

ISBN numbers:
978 1 903517 03 1
978 1 907650 90 1

World Rights
Rights sold: Russia (AdaptecT-ough Company),
Lithuania (Media Incognito).