The Janissary Tree

Jason Goodwin, Author . Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus & Giroux $25 (302p) ISBN 978-0-374-17860-4

Goodwin, the author of a well-received history of the Ottoman Empire, Lords of the Horizons (1999), makes a welcome shift to fiction with this impressive first of a new mystery series set in the empire's declining decades. In 1836, though the corrupt elite troops known as the Janissaries were crushed 10 years earlier, there are ominous signs that their influence still persists in the twisted alleys and secret places of Istanbul. A series of crimes, including the barbaric murders of several soldiers and the theft of some precious jewels, leads eunuch Yashim Togalu to delve into the past in an effort to separate legend from truth. With special access to all areas of the sultan's royal court, Yashim uses his network of contacts to try to solve the crimes. The author, no surprise, does an excellent job of evoking his chosen locale. While his sleuth's character may be less developed than some readers might wish, no doubt Yashim will emerge as a more rounded figure in future entries of what one hopes will be a long-running series. (May)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60252-841-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-0504-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-312-42613-2
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-3437-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4001-2504-3
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-374-17856-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-5504-0
Hardcover - 332 pages - 978-0-571-22921-5
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4356-7940-5
Hardcover - 250 pages - 978-0-571-22922-2
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