From the Publisher
“When you read a historical mystery by Jason Goodwin, you take a magic-carpet ride to the most exotic place on earth.” Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Goodwin is an author of many strengths…[and his books] just keep getting better….The complicated plot that unfolds is deftly controlled throughout….Goodwin's prose is sharp and surprising.” The Washington Post
“Exotic…An elegant meditation on the Ottoman psyche. Goodwin is as concerned with capturing the sights, sounds, and recipes as he is with the murders.” Financial Times (London)
“Goodwin continues to create historical mysteries with an A-quality plot, excellent historical detail, and a strong sense of place….He is still at the top of his game.” Booklist
“A great addition to a superb series.” The Globe and Mail (London)
“In Yashim's investigations the stakes are high indeed….The bare outlines are enlivened by Goodwin's skillful use of color and detail, especially Yashim's recipes, which set the reader drooling. As a historian, Goodwin is scrupulous.” The Independent (London)
The complicated plot that unfolds is deftly controlled throughout, with dangers, chases, intrigues and frequent trips back to the harem. Goodwin's prose is sharp and surprising…and the best part of the entertainment is none other than Yashim, a redoubtable, philosophical hero who finds himself in a dirty, battered world yet still holds out hope…maybe the poor old Ottoman Empire would have lasted a bit longer if it had had more Yashims to call upon. As it is, we must hope the original has many, many more adventures.
The Washington Post
Edgar-winner Goodwin's masterful fourth mystery thriller set in Istanbul under the Ottoman Turks (after The Bellini Card) finds his series hero, the eunuch Yashim, attempting to navigate treacherous political shoals following the death of Sultan Mahmut II in 1840. International pressures heighten the uncertainty surrounding the empire's direction under Mahmut's youthful successor. In this tense climate, Yashim looks into the killing of an unknown man dumped in a Christian monastery's cistern. A flap of skin cut from the body bearing a death's-head brand, an item that someone tries to take from Yashim at gunpoint, may point to a Russian connection to the murder. While Goodwin excels at plotting, the book's main strength lies in the assured depiction of a nation restrained by a corrupt leadership far removed from the old traditions of transparency and justice. The details of how Yashim prepares meals may amuse Robert Parker fans. (Apr.)
The fourth adventure (after The Bellini Card) in Goodwin's award-winning historical series has Turkish investigator—and eunuch—Yashim probing an Ottoman admiral's defection and mysterious deaths in the sultan's seraglio.