An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch Series #4)
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An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch Series #4)

4.3 28
by Jason Goodwin
     
 

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Sleuth. Cook. Ottoman. Lover. Have you met Yashim yet?

It's Istanbul in 1839, and as the new sultan installs his harem in the palace, the intrepid investigator Yashim is set adrift on the swirling currents of loyalty and betrayal. The dramatic treachery of Fevzi Ahmet, the admiral of the fleet, brings Yashim up against the one man he has ever hated&hellip

Overview

Sleuth. Cook. Ottoman. Lover. Have you met Yashim yet?

It's Istanbul in 1839, and as the new sultan installs his harem in the palace, the intrepid investigator Yashim is set adrift on the swirling currents of loyalty and betrayal. The dramatic treachery of Fevzi Ahmet, the admiral of the fleet, brings Yashim up against the one man he has ever hated…the only man he has ever feared.

Drawn ever deeper into the closed and mysterious world of the Sultan's harem, Yashim must search for a secret that could save a life or destroy an empire. An Evil Eye is a heart-pounding mystery of exotic Istanbul and a riveting journey into a veiled realm.

Editorial Reviews

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)

Steve Donoghue
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
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250002433
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
02/28/2012
Series:
Yashim the Eunuch Series , #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
614,001
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

An Evil Eye

A Novel
By Jason Goodwin

Picador

Copyright © 2012 Jason Goodwin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781250002433

  Istanbul, 1836
THE yali is made of wood silvered by the sun, dry as tinder.As evening falls, the timbers begin to cool. Beams settle; boards contract. Cracks ease around the window frames, whose latticed glass flames orange with the setting sun.The pasha’s two-oared caïque skims like a cormorant up the Bosphorus toward it, away from Istanbul.He leans into the cushions, his back to the setting sun, and lets his mind rove idly across the water, over the surface of his ambitions and his desires.He checks himself. He is not a superstitious man, but praise and pride attract the evil eye; certain thoughts are better left unframed.Almost guiltily, he turns his head. The yali stands so beautifully at the water’s edge, looking out across the Bosphorus to the hills of Asia beyond. The evening meal has been taken, and he imagines the murmur of voices as his household prepares for sleep. He can almost hear the yali settling, its old bones composing themselves for the night, wooden joints creaking and crackling in the dusk.He turns his head—and puts out a hand, as if it were in his power to stop what is about to happen. As if he could fit the house in his own palm, and keep it safe.Between his outstretched fingers, the yali is ablaze.It burns so beautifully, as if a wild spirit were dashing through the rooms. A window explodes, and against the evening sky the sparks fly up like shooting stars. Galaxies twist from the staircase; suns blaze in every room.The pasha screams. The rowers glance back. They miss a stroke.Over the crash of falling timber and the snapping of the flames, the pasha hears screams from the harem apartments, upstairs.When the caïque touches the marble stairs, the pasha flings himself onto shore. His mouth is open, sweat rolling down his face.He races from one end of the burning house to the other, moaning. He feels the heat on his face. He can no longer hear the screams.But he hears, instead, someone call his name.“Fevzi Pasha! Pasha!”Two arms thrust a bundle from a window. The pasha reaches up.The roof sags, dropping a sudden flurry of flaming shingles, which spin to the ground. The pasha leaps back. The figure at the window is gone. The window is gone.The flames are driving a firestorm: the pasha feels the wind snatch at his cloak, drawing him back toward the yali.He cradles the bundle to his chest and stumbles away.The gate bursts open, and a crowd of men surges in with buckets, hooks, ladders. But it is far too late. As the men run by, the pasha hears timbers break and the sky is lit up.He does not turn back. 1 CANNON boomed across the Bosphorus. White smoke, the color of mourning, billowed low over the water.Sultan Mahmut II was dead. He had come to the throne of Osman as the turbaned ruler of a medieval empire, and had died in a frock coat and a fez. In his long reign he had given the Ottoman Empire French saddles, a constitution of sorts, modern drill and percussion rifles. He had destroyed the ferocious Janissaries, as an obstacle to progress, and he had lost Greece to the Greeks and Crimea to the Russians and Egypt to an Albanian adventurer called Mehmet Ali Pasha. He had built himself a modern palace, at Besiktas, where he maintained a harem like sultans of old.The harem was in pandemonium.“You are the Kislar aga, Ibou. You must help them to leave,” Yashim said quietly. “The sultan’s harem is your domain. The sultan has died, and the women must move on.”The Kislar aga, the master of the girls, shut his eyes and pressed his fingers against his smooth cheeks. “They—they do not want to go, Yashim.”“Abdülmecid is sultan now. Any moment he may arrive here, at Besiktas, and he will bring his women.” Yashim gestured to the staircase.The Kislar aga took a deep breath and started up the stairs. “You must come with me. We must get the women away.”Yashim followed reluctantly as the Kislar aga bustled through the gallery, clapping his hands. “The carriages are come, ladies! To the carriages!”Not one of the women paid him the slightest attention. They had spent years learning how to behave, how to speak, how to be beautiful, devoting their lives to the service of the sultan. Now the sultan was dead and carriages were to take them away.They wanted to wail and scream, and to mourn.To mourn the sultan, their youth, their hopes.And grab what they could, while there was still time.  Copyright © 2011 by Jason Goodwin

Continues...

Excerpted from An Evil Eye by Jason Goodwin Copyright © 2012 by Jason Goodwin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jason Goodwin is the bestselling author of The Janissary Tree, The Snake Stone, and The Bellini Card, the first three books in his series of novels featuring Yashim. Goodwin studied Byzantine history at Cambridge and is the author of Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire, among other award-winning nonfiction. He lives with his wife and their four children in England.

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An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch Series #4) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
eagle3tx More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed. I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire Yashim series despite the strangeness of the premise. The continuing side characters are engaging [especially the Sultan's grandmother, the Valide -- related to Napoleon's Josephine -- and the Polish ambassador, though Poland is no longer an independent country at the time], the historical perspective, the mystery and inner working of the Ottoman court in the 1830s intriging, especially this latest installment. I questioned the idea of a eunuch as the main character of a mystery series when I bought the first book, but I have been totally won over. Yashim, the trustworthy 'lala' to the Sultan, is perfect at sorting through palace intrigue and quietly unearthing the information necessary to solve the mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jason Goodwin's mystery series featuring Yashim, a eunich attached to the palace of the Ottoman Sultan continues to engage. In this book the focus returns to Yashim, after much of the last book (Bellini Card) featured his friend Paleswki, the Polish diplomat ensnared in a mystery in Venice. In "An Evil Eye" we are back in Istanbul in the very heart of the Sultan's hareem. One doesnt read Goodwin's books for the plot as much as for the atmospheric pleasures. Jason is a master at bringing the smells, flavors and decadence of the Ottoman era right into the reader's home. He also does a great job of explaining what may be for many readers an unfamiliar context. Yashim is an engaging protagonist and his supporting cast is also nicely developed, particularly the Valide Sultan and Yashim's "transsexual" friend who we could actually have more of as the dynamic between her and Yashim never fails to fascinate. Overall this isan intriguing mystery set amidst the backdrop of the Ottoman Empire's struggle to modernize.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1839 the long reign of Sultan Mahmut II ends with his death. Abdulmecid now sits on the Osman Throne of the shrunken Ottoman Empire as his predecessor lost the Crimea, Greece and Egypt. The latter hurts the most as some upstart Mehmet Ali Pasha took the North African country from the Turks due in part to the Admiral of the fleet Fevzi Ahmet defecting. Yashim the eunuch is assigned to investigate why a hero turned traitor. The case is much harder than his previous inquiries as those were potentially lethal while this case looks into the activity of Yashmin's mentor and teacher, a vicious man willing to die for the late Sultan. As he begins his search for motives, women under the Sultan's protection begin to die from a strange illness. The intrepid sleuth wonders whether the deaths of females under the Sultan's protection are tied to the defection of the most loyal supporter of the Sultan. The latest Yashim historical mystery (see The Bellini Card, The Janissary tree and The Snake Stone) is a great tale that looks deep into the corrupt rot at the core of the Ottoman Empire. Yashmin is terrific whether he is making inquiries or just making dinner as he holds the strong why he done it story line focused. Fans of the series will relish this terrific entry in which Jason Goodwin shines a deep cause and effect spotlight on what the corruption at the highest levels is doing to a crumbling giant within a powerful mystery. Harriet Klausner
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