The Winter Thief (Kamil Pasha Series #3)

( 3 )

Overview

A bank robbery and the discovery of a shipment of illegal weapons lead Special Prosecutor Kamil Pasha to uncover a brutal plan to massacre an entire valley.

Istanbul, January 1888. The Ottoman Empire, weakened by debt and decades of war and revolts, is beginning to disintegrate. Rumors fly that spies are flooding the country; the sultan's secretuses its force more freely with each passing day; and word is spreading that a rebellion is taking hold in remote Armenian villages. ...

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The Winter Thief (Kamil Pasha Series #3)

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Overview

A bank robbery and the discovery of a shipment of illegal weapons lead Special Prosecutor Kamil Pasha to uncover a brutal plan to massacre an entire valley.

Istanbul, January 1888. The Ottoman Empire, weakened by debt and decades of war and revolts, is beginning to disintegrate. Rumors fly that spies are flooding the country; the sultan's secretuses its force more freely with each passing day; and word is spreading that a rebellion is taking hold in remote Armenian villages. Vera Arti, on a secret politcal mission with her husband, carries an Armenian translation of The Communist Manifesto through Istanbul's streets, naively unaware of the men following her. When police discover a shipload of illegal firearms in Istanbul's harbor and a bomb explodes in the Imperial Ottoman Bank, suspicion falls immediately on the socialist commune organized by Arti's friends in the eastern mountains.

Magistrate Kamil Pasha tries to discover who is behind the smuggled guns in the city's port and the bank robbery, and whether they pose a threat to the empire. But when he learns that his prominent brother-in-law was inside a restaurant taken down by the bank explosion, he begins to suspect that something more than coincidence is at work. His sleuthing leads him to encounter his most ruthless adversary to date: Vahid, head of a special branch of the empire's secret police, who has managed to convince the sultan that the socialist commune is fomenting a dangerous secessionist movement and should be destroyed—along with all of the surrounding villages.

Placed at the center of the poisonous conflict between idealistic socialists and the merciless agents oof the sultan's forces, Kamil must stop the massacre and fight for what he belives is right. But all too soon he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, framed for murder and treason, his family and the woman he loves in grave danger Kamil must decide which side to defend—the state to which he's always been loyal or those considered enemies of the empire—before violence obliterations of the most powerful and dengerous men of the dying Ottoman Empire, The Winter Thief also reflects the mad idealism of those turbulent times.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Starred Review. White’s best book to date.”
Maureen Corrigan
White…adroitly tosses in period detail as well as romance, political intrigue and brutal battle scenes. But The Winter Thief really distinguishes itself by the intelligence of its smaller moments, when characters take stock of their limitations against the larger demands of history.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Set in 1888, White’s gripping third thriller to feature Turkish detective Kamil Pasha (after The Abyssinian Proof) will appeal to fans of Laura Joh Rowland’s Japanese historical series. Like Rowland’s hero, Kamil serves as a special investigator for his country’s ruler (in his case, the sultan of the Ottoman empire), and he must compete for influence with a ruthless and powerful rival. The discovery of a shipment of illegal arms and an explosion and robbery at the Imperial Ottoman Bank compound the sultan’s fears about threats to his rule. The challenges mount for Kamil when Vahid, the vicious head of the secret police, frames him for murder before Kamil can go to the Choruh Valley to find out whether a socialist commune is actually a base for revolutionaries. Vahid plots to gain even more control over the empire by being put in charge of a new intelligence service. While there’s no mystery about who committed the crimes, the atmospherics and period detail are first-rate. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393070170
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/15/2010
  • Series: Kamil Pasha Series , #3
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,278,286
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Engaging Thriller

    This is a thriller that takes place in Istanbul, Ottoman Turkey, in 1888. The main character is Kamil Pasha, who is a Magistrate assigned to investigate first the shipment of a boatload full of small arms that was intercepted at the port hidden in what were labeled as barrels of fish, and then the theft of a large quantity of gold from a bank, which was bombed after the crime was completed, causing a fire in a nearby tavern which resulted in extensive damage and loss of life. The book's other major characters are a young newly married couple of idealistic socialists/communists, who have moved to Istanbul from Europe, heading to Eastern Turkey to help establish a farming commune there that would be mostly Armenian with a small international flavor. The husband was the intended recipient of the guns, which were meant for protection from expansion-minded Russians, and he also stole the gold to finance the new community. The head of the secret police, a ruthless, sadistic, power-hungry character, tries to paint the socialists as revolutionaries against the Sultan, in order to increase his influence and control. The story of Kamil's family, his sister and her husband, are also integrated into this plot. His brother-in-law is missing after the tavern fire, and a desperate search begins to find him. He is also in danger because the head of the secret police has a grudge against him. Kamil also has a love interest.
    This is the third Kamil Pasha book from White, but I have not read the first two books or even heard about them until I saw something about this publication that caught my eye. The story held my interest and I cared about the characters. It seems to be historically accurate (the author is a professor of anthropology specializing in Turkey). There was only one part of the story line, near the end of the book, that made little sense to me, but it was a minor issue that did not detract much from my enjoyment of the book. And, I found the inevitable battle scene a little hard to follow. Still, I would recommend the book for anyone who likes a decent thriller or a good historical novel.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The third Kamil Pasha late nineteenth century Ottoman Empire police procedural is again more a deep historical tale than a whodunit

    In 1888 Istanbul, Vera Arti carries the Armenian language version of The Communist Manifesto, ignorant that she is being followed. However attention is elsewhere in the tumultuous city when the Imperial Ottoman Bank is robbed and blown up. Secret Police Chief Vahid sees an opportunity for increasing his power so blames Armenian Communists as easy scapegoats, knowing they have a socialist commune nearby. He persuades the Sultan to allow him to destroy these separatists and any village in their vicinity as the locals obviously abetted their movement.

    As Vahid leads a brutal deadly ethnic cleansing purge, Special Prosecutor Kamil Pasha heads the official investigation into the bank incident. However, instead of support Kamil and his police are treated with contempt, their families threatened, and the Special prosecutor accused by Vahid's agents of murder and seditious activities in support of the separatists. Meanwhile Vahid continues his massacre using ethnic differences as tools to manipulate the Sultan and the citizens.

    The third Kamil Pasha late nineteenth century Ottoman Empire police procedural (see THE SULTAN'S SEAL and THE ABYSSINIAN PROOF) is again more a deep historical tale than a whodunit as the investigation enhances the insightful look at the era. The inquiry is strong as Pasha and his police subordinates bring out in depth a troubled era enhanced by the moral dilemma they confront of doing the job right vs. protecting their family. Pasha understands the innocent are pawns of an insidious, ambitious but brilliant fiend; whatever choice he makes someone will suffer unfairly from the wrath of injustice. This is a great historical with a powerful values' message involving personal courage at a time when the safer solution is to salute the Sultan and his sinister Secret Police chief.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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