This is the story of the Paleologus family and their difficult relationships with one another, and how these relationships are put to the test in a dramatic mystery revealing suspicious secrets and guilty actions in their past. Their relationships and mistrust of one another’s motives cause anger and resentment at their father’s decision not to sell his house, and then later result in foolish choices which lead them, and in particular Nicholas, into increasingly more complicated and dangerous situations.

Running all the way through the book is the family’s link to their past, as they are thought to be descendants of the Emperors of Byzantium, and how this history has consequences that affect their modern lives.

The book has similar themes to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code – such as the protection and hunting down of religious secrets, and even a visit to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. I thought I was on safe ground here as I felt I had prior knowledge of all this as I love the Da Vinci Code, but it didn’t actually aid my understanding at all as Goddard’s book went off at a different tangent.

I like Robert Goddard books and really enjoyed this one too, it was gripping and difficult to put down. I raced through it, and really liked the first 3/4 of the book, but got a bit lost in all the explanations at the end. Perhaps it is just me (I often do need the plot of something like Morse explaining to me!), but there seemed to be so much going on; so many double crossings and historical references that I found myself at the end of the book trying to still work out why he/she acted in that way, and how they gained the information in the first place. Was it all just a load of coincidences or was it actually a really clever and intricate plot that was over my head?

Even after several days I found myself still puzzling over it and it hasn’t become clearer since – I think I will have to read it again, being now forearmed with the end result, to see if all the puzzles and links make sense and tie up.