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The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
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The Janissary Tree (2006)

by Jason Goodwin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Inspector Yashim Togalu (1)

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1,180546,821 (3.48)141
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English (47)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (2)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
This was a lively read in an absorbing setting, Istanbul in 1836. A world on the cusp of change. Yashim, a eunuch in the service of the sultan, is an investigator with a gift for not being noticed. Because of his status he can move quietly between the inside and outside of the palace and he is employed to investigate the disappearance of four young officers from the New Guard, which has replaced the Janissaries, the former entrenched and utterly corrupt soldiery that ten years earlier had been violently removed from power. The forces of "keep the old ways" versus the steady creep of new ideas of democracy and equality from the west, are about to clash and Yashim finds himself at the center of the plotting. You'll be looking things up and summoning maps of Istanbul as you read. By a fine coincidence I was also reading (months late) a New Yorker article on archaeological finds in Istanbul that held up the completion of a subway tunnel under the Bosphorus for a decade. If you like historical mysteries this is, apparently, the start of a series. Hooray! **** ( )
  sibyx | Apr 11, 2016 |
This is the first in a mystery series introducing Inspector Yashim, a eunuch in service to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century. After the fall of Napoleon there's plenty of diplomatic intrigue and Istanbul is right in the center of where east meets west. Yashim is called upon to investigate multiple mysteries at the same time -- the theft of the Valide's jewels (the Sultan's mother), the murder of a girl in the harem and the quadruple murder of four young soldiers in a very gruesome manner. Could it all be tied to the Janissaries who were suppressed ten years before? Could be. There's arsonists afoot too. Yashim is a thoughtful and clever man who leads the reader through all walks of life in his investigations from dancing girls who just might not be girls, to the workings of the tannery industry, to the inner sanctum of the harem. A good adventure except for those unfortunates who got offed in the telling. ( )
  varielle | Feb 15, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this murder mystery set in 19th century Istanbul. The world’s culture is changing, and the effects of modernization have swept across Europe. The sultan of the Ottoman Empire feels he must go along, but just as he’s about to announce sweeping political change, a grisly murder occurs within the court. So he calls for Yashim – a eunuch and a special detective . Goodwin treats us to an exotic locale - luxurious seraglios, noisy market places, and filthy tanneries. And he populates this world with a colorful cast of characters, including a dyspeptic Polish ambassador, a transsexual dancer, the Creole-born queen mother, and even a 300-lb wrestling deaf-mute.

I listened to the audio book, performed by Stephen Hoye. This is the second time I’ve listened to Hoye narrate an audio book. I was really turned off by his delivery on the first book, but he is perfect for this. He hits just the right tone for the carefully thoughtful and not easily perturbed Yashim. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 29, 2016 |
It is a good thing that I did not read this book first, because otherwise, I might not have continued with the series.

We meet Yashim, a Eunuch who is free to go about his life, except when needed by the Sultan or one of the Palace officials to investigate.

The Valide Sultan's jewels (which were a gift from her dear friend, Empress Josephine) have gone missing and a young concubine who is to spend time w/ the Sultan has been found murdered.

At the same time, outside of the palace, four young military men have gone missing...but one by one their grossly mutilated bodies are turning up around Istanbul. Yashim is called in to investigate.

The descriptions are lush and evocative of another Romantic time gone by. The descriptions of Yashim's dinner preparations are mouth watering.

What I didn't like, was all the military stuff.... I didn't really care for the knowledge of the Janissaries and I would have liked to have had more written about the murder in the Oda (Harem). ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
It's the last days of the Ottoman Empire and Yashim is tasked to uncover a complex series of murders that lead him to suspect that the powerful Janissaries who were suppressed ten years earlier will attempt a coup. The mystery is fair and holds together. I like Yashim quite a bit as a character and would like to read more in the series, though I thought this first outing was a bit "too clever by half" in resolving the coup(s).

( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Nov 22, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jason Goodwinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rossem, Nina vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
For those who have Awareness,

a hint is quite enough.

for the multitudes of heedless

mere knowledge is useless.

-- Haji Bektash Veli
Dedication
To Kate
First words
Yashim flicked at a speck of dust on his cuff.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312426135, Paperback)

 
Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel
 
It is 1836. Europe is modernizing and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world, an investigator who can walk with ease in the great halls of the empire, in its streets, and even within its harems--because, of course, Yashim is a eunuch. His investigation points to the Janissaries, who, for four hundred years were the empire's elite soldiers. Crushed by the sultan, could they now be staging a brutal comeback? And can they be stopped without throwing Istanbul into political chaos?
 
This first book in the Investigator Yashim series is a richly entertaining tale, full of exotic history and intrigue.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:21 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"It is 1836. Europe is modernizing, and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the Sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim Lastname ... 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. And he introduces us to the Janissaries. For 400 years, they were the empire's elite soldiers, but they grew too powerful, and ten years ago, the Sultan had them crushed. Are the Janissaries staging a brutal comeback?"--Publisher description.… (more)

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