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You see, Yashim is a eunuch.
He leads us into the palace's luxurious seraglios and Istanbul's teeming streets, and leans on the wisdom of a dyspeptic Polish ambassador, a transsexual dancer, and a Creole-born queen mother. He finds sweet salvation in the arms of another man's wife. (This is not your everyday eunuch.) And he introduces us to the Janissaries. For, 400 years earlier, the sultan had them crushed. Are the Janissaries staging a brutal comeback?
Edgar Award, Best Novel, 2007
"A work of dazzling beauty....The rare coming together of historical scholarship and curiosity about distant places with luminous writing." (The New York Times Book Review)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Andre on 03-18-08
This is a fascinating book in several respects. The plot of the mystery (with Yashim the Eunuch as detective) is convoluted and clever. The descriptions of Istanbul in the early 1800's, with the Ottoman Empire contracting, are really enthralling. But for me, the really special component was a vivid recounting of the history of Constantinople being over-run by the Turks, led by their Janissaries; and the way in which the Sultan's entourage was run. It is a highly worthwhile novel!
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
By Judith A. Weller on 03-26-09
A Real Page Turner
This was one of the most riveting historical mysteries I have listened to in a long time. The wealth of detail about the Ottoman Empire and life in Istambul really makes this book come alive. I love historical mysteries that really make you live in the period and this is one of them. The detail is marvelous and adds to the depth of the book. While at first I didn't much care for the narrator, the more I listened the more I felt he was just right for the book and his ability to vocally differentiate the various characters in the book is really marvellous. Highly recommended.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful