A mysterious, holy grail-like object, a document with the potential to "bring about peace between the different peoples of the world," is at the center of White's erudite second novel set in late 19th-century Istanbul and featuring city magistrate Kamil Pasha (after The Sultan's Seal). The minister of justice, Kamil's boss, orders him to find the thieves who are looting Istanbul of its religious relics and selling them to unscrupulous dealers in London. Kamil's friend Malik, the caretaker of a local mosque, has a specific task for him-locating a stolen reliquary, a silver box that contains a secret message known as the Proof of God. Kamil-smart, brave and compassionate-proves an appealing sleuth. Intriguing love interests include the daughter of the leader of the strange Abyssinian sect to which the reliquary belongs. White, a professor of anthropology, clearly knows her period and place, though some readers may wish that she had toned down the esoteric knowledge and upped the thriller quotient. Author tour. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Abyssinian Proof (Kamil Pasha Series #2)by Jenny White
"An immensely enjoyable read, richly textured and wonderfully atmospheric."—Sarah GravesConstantinople, May 1453. In the dying days of the Byzantine Empire, Isaak Metochites and his family are entrusted with a silver reliquary carved with the figure of a weeping angel and the inscription: Behold the Proof of Chora, Container of the Uncontainable/em>/p>
"An immensely enjoyable read, richly textured and wonderfully atmospheric."—Sarah GravesConstantinople, May 1453. In the dying days of the Byzantine Empire, Isaak Metochites and his family are entrusted with a silver reliquary carved with the figure of a weeping angel and the inscription: Behold the Proof of Chora, Container of the Uncontainable. Four hundred years later, magistrate Kamil Pasha is plagued by thefts of antiquities from mosques and churches and a series of murders in which the bodies bear the same distinctive mark. Sources lead Kamil to a hidden sect descended from Abyssinian slaves living in an abandoned cistern in Istanbul's gritty underworld. The reemergence of the forgotten reliquary sets off a brutal race between those sworn to protect it and those who will stop at nothing to gain its explosive secret.
Meet the Author
Jenny White is the author of the Kamil Pasha series: The Sultan’s Sea (a finalist for the Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award), The Abyssinian Proof and The Winter Thief. She is a professor of anthropology at Boston University, specializing in Turkey.
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In 1303 Rumi (Oct 1887 Gregorian) in Istanbul, concern is high over the stealing of religious antiquities from the mosques, synagogues and churches of the Ottoman Empire especially when the purloined artifacts are smuggled out of the country to London for sale to the highest bidder. With leaders of the three religions in feverous rage blaming one another and the Sultan, fear by the secular rulers is that a new Crusade is coming that could destroy the already ailing Empire if they do not calm the waters by catching the thieves. On top of all this is an assassination in broad daylight of the Ottoman governor of Macedonia. The minister of justice assigns secular court magistrate Kamil Pasha to handle the assassination expeditiously and then the antiquities thefts. However, the latest item has caused an even greater furor than usual as the stolen reliquary contains the Proof of God message hidden to keep it safe from the Muslims by Isaak Metochites and his family in 1453 Constantinople. Tied up with the murder on Istanbul¿s streets, Kamil turns to his friend Malik, the caretaker of a mosque, to regain the stolen reliquary. --- In many ways the second Kamil Pasha late nineteenth century Ottoman Empire mystery (see THE SULTAN'S SEAL) is more a deep historical tale than a whodunit as the investigations enhance the insightful look at the era than visa versa. Thus THE ABYSSINIAN PROOF targets those who prefer an insider glimpse of life in Istanbul with religions ready to fight one another in the name of God while devastating the enfeebled empire using the mysteries to augment the period piece. --- Harriet Klausner