The Abyssinian Proof

Jenny White, Author
Jenny White, Author . Norton $23.95 (396p) ISBN 978-0-393-06205-2
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A mysterious, holy grail–like object, a document with the potential to “bring about peace between the different peoples of the world,” is at the center of White's erudite second novel set in late 19th-century Istanbul and featuring city magistrate Kamil Pasha (after The Sultan's Seal ). The minister of justice, Kamil's boss, orders him to find the thieves who are looting Istanbul of its religious relics and selling them to unscrupulous dealers in London. Kamil's friend Malik, the caretaker of a local mosque, has a specific task for him—locating a stolen reliquary, a silver box that contains a secret message known as the Proof of God. Kamil—smart, brave and compassionate—proves an appealing sleuth. Intriguing love interests include the daughter of the leader of the strange Abyssinian sect to which the reliquary belongs. White, a professor of anthropology, clearly knows her period and place, though some readers may wish that she had toned down the esoteric knowledge and upped the thriller quotient. Author tour. (Feb.)

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