Lord of Emperors - Guy Gavriel Kay

This is the second book in the Sarantine Mosaic series, following on from Sailing to Sarantium which I reviewed in August.

Like the previous book, this story is mostly set in Sarantium which is heavily modelled on the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, with our protagonist working on the mosaics destined to decorate the ceiling of their equivalent to Hagia Sophia. All the plotting you'd expect, with various folks jostling for power and an emperor attempting to hold everything together...

In the end, I was somehow left feeling disappointed by Lord of Emperors, mostly perhaps because the element of the mystical that was hinted at in Sailing to Sarantium failed to play as significant a part as I'd hoped. A major character from the first book just leaves for an unspecified destination and the very clever creatures he'd helped create are pretty much unused and unexplained - one in particular appears at an apposite moment with no explanation how it got there.

There's also an element of pairing folks off, which got a little wearing especially right at the end when there's a surprise 'romantic' ending that I didn't quite believe. As I said last time, I understand that this isn't considered one of Kay's better works so I may still try him again...