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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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1,132497,240 (3.47)127
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English (42)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (2)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
This is a setting driven book. I really liked learning about Turkey during the 1800s. The character's daily lives are interesting in a way they can only be as historical fiction. The main character, Yashim, is a neat guy. I would like to know him if he were real. However, the storyline is not as compelling as it could be. I would give this book an extra star or half star if the storyline was more engrossing. The mystery starts out as interesting, but the conclusion/big reveal is not exciting. There aren't many suspense building moments like you would expect from a mystery. I would recommend it, it's a solid 3.5 stars, but I don't know if I'll continue with the series. I just have too many other things to read to move it to the top of my list. ( )
1 vote ladonna37 | Feb 27, 2015 |
READ IN DUTCH

I'm not completely familiar with Turkey or the Ottoman Empire or books about one of them. But I thought it was an interesting book, I don't know how accurate the book was exactly in the way it described it, but I feel like I've found out several new things. Something I always liked. Set back in the 19th century, it of course it slightly different from the thrillers that are most common, but I really liked this for a change. Still planning on reading the second book as will, but still so many other books to read, so it is possible it will take some more time... ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
This book was a delight to read. It has a little bit of who done it and a lot of history and culture embedded in its pages. The character development might have been a little light but I expect that to straighten out in the next titles in the series.

I put this novel in the same category as many of the other food loving detective stories that I have read as Yashim and his friends are very concerned with the quality of their food. Yashim would be right at home with Aurelio Zen, Brunetti, and Montalbano as the food descriptions are delightful. I am beginning to think that detectives need to be gouramands in order to be interesting, when before this I thought they should be observant danger and excitment junkies. Or at the very least master puzzle solvers. But master cooks? ( )
  benitastrnad | Jun 19, 2014 |
A crime fighting Eunuch!!

I'm sure that I'm not the only one but I must admit that that was what originally drew me to this book by (to me) an unknown author. That and the hope of learning a little about a country I know nothing about.On the whole I was not disappointed just felt there could have been so much more.

The Janissary in the title were originally the Ottoman Empire's elite troops (think the Praetorian Guards of the Romans) who through nepotism and corruption by power come to challenge the rule of the Sultan. Ten years before the events of this book the Janissary are overthrown by the New Guard but not totally destroyed and in the present seem to be trying to make a comeback to authority. Four cadets of the New Guard are captured, killed and their bodies returned in pretty gruesome manners. Yashim, the Eunuch,is brought in to discover who is behind the murders.At the same time some of the Sultan's mums jewels has gone missing.

Now the book has all the elements of a murder mystery, a hero who is not the norm, a dastardly villain, a tart-with-a-heart and a bewitching temptress but in many ways the whole murder mystery plot seemed secondary to the main reason for the book which was to give readers a feel of 1836 Istanbul. For example no reason was given as to why Yashim was seem fit to be employed as a detective and most of the characters were rather one dimensional (the exception being the tart-with-a heart)including the two villains. There were also very few plot twists (although I will admit that I only worked out the identity of one of the villains beforehand).

What the author does do well is give a good feel of life in 1830's Istanbul and the decline of the Ottoman Empire with some nice atmospheric depictions. However, I did feel that there was an overall expectation that the reader would already know a little of the background to this historical element. Something I most certainly did not have. Also, some of the descriptions were pretty over-blown at times. I mean did the cookery lessons really add something to the story? Not for me.

Now for the first book in a series I felt that this was a reasonable start and it certainly has not put me off looking for more books by the same author but next time I'll be expecting a little more than what was present here. ( )
  PilgrimJess | May 13, 2014 |
In this historical novel set in 1836 Istanbul, a eunuch named Yashim is asked to investigate into several cases. There are four officers who have gone missing (one of which turns up dead in an oversized cauldron a short while later); the sultan's most recent concubine is murdered in her bed; and the sultan's mother's jewels have gone missing. In the case of the officers, Yashim finds clues that seem to point toward the Janissaries as being responsible for the abduction and it's aftermath. The Janissaries had had a powerful presence in Turkey until 1826, just a decade previous to the start of our story. An elite force created by Sultan Murad I in 1383, they formed the Ottoman Sultan's household troops and bodyguards, but Sultan Mahmud II found them to be an unruly and disruptive presence, and wanting to create a modern army to keep up with the Europeans, he disbanded and slaughtered the Janissaries. But it seems there were survivors after all, and Yashim needs to figure out what they are up to to stop more bodies from turning up dead. Aiding him in his search for clues are his colourful and somewhat eccentric friends, the Polish ambassador and a transsexual dancer. A complex plot and an entertaining mystery set in an exotic place which is undergoing a great transition from ancient traditional customs to European modernization. I would have liked to find out more about Yashim himself, but perhaps more is revealed about him in the following 3 novels. ( )
  Smiler69 | May 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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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
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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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