The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch #1)

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  2,614 ratings  ·  484 reviews
Diterjemahkan ke dalam 31 Bahasa

Sebuah novel detektif populer yang unik dan menarik berlatar kota Istanbul, Turki, pada abad kesembilan belas, di seputar harem Sultan Mahmut II.

Pada mulanya adalah pembunuhan terhadap seorang selir Sultan dan raibnya empat prajurit Garda Baru.

Cerita kemudian mengalir seiring penyelidikan seorang kasim (lelaki yang dikebiri) bernama Yashim y...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published 2008 by Serambi (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Amanda R
For some reason, I just could not get into this book! I thought I would - there were a few parts at the beginning that amused me and seemed interesting, but the more I read, the more uninterested I got. I don't know if it was the plot or the writing, but I just found it all rather forgettable. You know, when you read a chapter and then sit back and think, "Wait...what just happened?" It's never good when you have to keep rereading pages to get them in your brain. And it wasn't that it was diffic...more
Tea Jovanović
Još jedna knjiga koja me je osvojila na prečac i koju sam progutala u jednom dahu... i to davne 2006. pre pojave (i popularnosti) turskih serija kod nas... :) Dobar krimić s primesama istorijskog i egzotike... :)
Apr 13, 2008 Phil rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one.
Shelves: mysteries
Truth is, I did not finish it. I found the characters too much like from a comic-book (not even a graphic novel), and it, well, plodded.

It actually won an Edgar - which is why I checked it out the library in the first place.

But the real kicker is the author sincerely dislikes Constantinople/Istanbul, the scene of the crime. Why do I say this? Well, they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In my case, I studied Ottoman history in grad school and found it fascinating. The book says inside...more
Sometimes, the same thing that makes a writer a brilliant historian prevents him from becoming something much more humble, say, a writer of mysteries. Jason Goodwin, whose book The Lord of the Horizons was a wonderful short history of the Ottoman Empire, tripped up a bit when he wrote his The Janissary Tree. The hero of the book is an investigator who also happens to be a eunuch. In the approaching twilight years of the Empire, Yashim tries to understand a plot to bring down the Sultanate on the...more
This historical murder mystery reminds me of Caleb Carr's writing except Goodwin doesn't have Carr's flair for suspense nor can he generate the excitement or horror that Carr achieves in books like "The Alienist". In short, Goodwin isn't a GREAT murder/mystery writer, but he is a GOOD mystery writer and what he does achieve here is an ability to transport the reader back to Istanbul in the 1830's. I had read Goodwin's history book of the Ottoman Empire, "Lord's of the Horizon" and what is remark...more
Jun 11, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

The Janissary Tree is the first time I’ve read anything by author Jason Goodwin. Set in Istanbul in the mid-19th century it reminded me of My Name is Black, but this is a less ambitious novel. Still it is a very good one, but shorter and probably much more accessible to the casual/average reader.

I liked the writing, the plotting and the descriptions of time and place. The author made me feel as if I was there and able to understand the life of the ordinary people that form the backdrop of this c...more
Surprised this won the Edgar Award. Book was pretty dry and a little disjointed. I suppose that when the hero was in mortal danger, I was supposed to be nervous on his account, but I wasn't. The stakes if the eunuch failed his mission were pretty high--four terrible murders about to be committed, the sultan and his mother would be killed, city in flames, revolution and invasion, no more French novels--but I was blithely unconcerned.

Completely lacking in suspense. Also it was pretty obvious who t...more
Jan 06, 2008 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, detective novel fans
Recommended to Amy by: Dave
Oh, the lure of the exotic. And what could be more exotic to a Californian on a rainy winter weekend than a mystery set in the crumbling Ottoman empire of the 1830s with a eunuch investigator, intrigues among harem concubines, Janissaries, and the ambassadors of France, Russia, Poland, and England, among many others?
I picked this book up on a whim after reading about it on my friend Dave's blog (, and, despite intending to read and work on many other things, found myself with m...more
Mar 25, 2008 Lynne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lynne by: Amazon
Shelves: 2007-2008
I read this because I was interested in the details of 19th century Istanbul, as it was faced with European influences and change. I'm a fan of detective novels only if I get a good dose of charactr and culture (as in James Lee Burke and Tony Hillerman), but this one felt wooden and contrived to if the author was more interested in the political and cultural history than the characters.
Susan Hirtz
I'm glad I disregarded the unfavorable reviews of those who preceded me as readers. Mr. Goodwin is thorough as a researcher and obviously felt it important to his story to include the details of this period in Turkish history. I, for one, having read Suleiman the Magnificent and other books about the Ottoman Empire, think it vital for Westerners to understand the history of the Middle East.

The Janissaries were the Sultan's right arm in the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and helped him retain hi...more
The first offering in this detective series set in Istambul in the 1830's. Yashim is on the trail of a conspirary of former soldiers "The Janissaries" while trying to solve the murder of a woman in the Sultan's harem and the theft of the Sultan's mother precious jewels given to her by Napoleon's wife Josephine. The setting is exotic, the plot is intriguing. Yashim is endearing. Those are the pluses.

But... this book suffers from what I've nicknamed the "Dan Brown syndrome" 132 chapters for 300 p...more
The setting of the The Janissary Tree> is fascinating: the novel takes place in 1836 in Istanbul, with the Ottoman empire on the cusp between tradition and the modernity that will ultimately destroy it. And the main character, Yashim, who is a eunuch, certainly provides a twist on the traditional detective! However, I can’t say that I loved the novel as a novel, rather than as a thinly veiled history lesson about a rather forgotten period in history. In fact, every character was ready to spou...more
I have to admit that I totally don’t get what the fuss is all about. The Janissary Tree bears all the earmarks of a first novel, including a healthy crop of irritating literary tics that I sincerely hope Goodwin will outgrow (to name one: the habit of ending many, many chapters with ridiculously purple Perils of Pauline-esque “cliff-hangers” [of this variety: “Little did he know how soon he would be seeing his friend again—and under what shocking circumstances!”]). Okay, I made that one up, but...more
Set in the 1830s, Istanbul seems peaceful with exotic spices perfuming the air. But 4 cadets of the New Guard are missing and their general, the seraskier, seeks the assistance of Yashim lala, the stealthy guardian of security, a trusted eunuch approved by the Sultan and who has access to the harem. When one by one, 3 of the cadets are found dead and in very disturbing circumstances, Yashim realizes that their disappearance and also the methods by which they are killed and where they are found h...more
In 1836 Istanbul, a court advisor and eunuch, Yashim, is asked to investigate two seemingly unrelated mysteries: the murder of one of the sultan’s odalisques and the theft of the jewels of the Valide Sultan (queen mother); and the abduction and grisly murders of five New Guards. Working with the seraskier, or commander in chief, Yashim begins to believe that the deposed and feared Janissaries are plotting a comeback.

The author, a historian and writer of Asian travel books, brings 19th century I...more
A reader can divide historical fiction into two kinds: the kind where you know the general outline of what happens historically, and the kind where you don't. The Janissary Tree was the second kind for me. I know almost nothing about the Ottoman Empire -- a few names, a smattering about the Crimean War and the empire's part in WWI, and the phrase "The Sick Man of Europe." That's about it. In addition, 1836, when the book is set, is a time even in European history about which I knew little. Well,...more
The Ottoman Empire is modernizing in 1836. The corrupt Janissary Corp was forcibly disbanded 10 years ago and the Sultan is on the verge of making sweeping changes. A series of disturbing murders are committed in Istanbul and Yashim must find the culprit before wide spread panic ensues.

The cast includes a Polish ambassador without a country, a Russian ambassador with a bored wife, the leader of the new Ottoman Army, the Sultan’s mother and a transsexual dancer, to name a few. The amount of char...more
Brett Bydairk
Istanbul in 1836. A mix of Turkish, French, Russian, and other nationalities. The arrogant Janissaries, the elite Turkish troops who had taken over the city they were sworn to protect, had been almost annihilated ten years previously. Almost. Many had run and hidden from the massacre, and had slowly found there way back, taking menial jobs to avoid notice.
Four members of the New Guard, which took the place of the Janissaries, have disappeared, and a body has turned up, the bones cooked clean. Ar...more
Nov 26, 2007 Linda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history lovers who enjoy exotic locales.
Really a history lesson more than a compelling mystery. Yashim, the eunuch, employed by the sultan, lives in Istanbul of the 1830's. It is 10 years after the sultan destroyed the Janissaries. The Janissaries were an elite fighting corps within the Ottoman army made up of young captured Europeans. Initially very valiant and successful in Turkish battles, the group became corrupt as the empire stopped its expansion. So, the sultan burned all of them one night while they were in their barracks. (So...more
THE JANISSARY TREE (Historical-Turkey-1836) – VG
Goodwin, Jason – 1st novel
Sarah Crichton Books, 2006- US Hardcover – ISBN 0374178607
*** The Ottoman Empire is coming to an end and Sultan recognizes they must move into modern times. But gruesome murders, with clues leading back to the brutal days of the Janissaries, are threatening the peace and Turkish eunuch Yashim Togalu is employed to find the killer.
*** Goodwin does a marvelous job of bring this period and setting to life. Although I’d have l...more
I was really expecting something good from this book as I had the impression from the panoply of reviews both on the outside cover and the inside that it was very well-researched and would be a historically driven narrative, which is something I usually go for. Now that may have been the case to some extent, but as someone else has pointed out the characters were so bloody much like caricatures that it took a lot away from the plot. I really disliked the sex scenes with the diplomat's wife which...more
1.5 stars

I am baffled as to how this book won the Edgar for the following reasons:
1) The writing was very amateurish.
2) Several things were culturally offensive.
3) The story jumped around and never settled down, but rather bombarded the reader with seemingly unrelated episodes.
4) Using British accents/dialects to denote different socio-economic classes only works if your story is taking place in Great Britain.
5) As much as I adore Turkish food, if I wanted to read a page-long description of some...more
This was more like 3.5, but I didn't want to give it a 4. The explanations aren't good enough for it to be a really good mystery, and there are lots of holes in the plot - but I still enjoyed it.

ETA: I have always been fascinated by the history of the place now called Turkey. I would love to visit Istanbul... So the background for this story was very interesting to me, and amusingly I have even read a book that was partially a biography of one of the characters, so that was a fun bit of serendip...more
This was recommended by a reviewer in The Week as being a really good detective thriller. I thought it would be a bit different from the usual ones I read. I found the detail about Istanbul very appealing and the character of Yashim interesting, the the plot confusing and tedious at times. However, I did finish it because I wanted to know if there would be resolution....always a good sign. Jason Goodwin is not going to replace PD James amongst my favourites.
More later - it got better and better until I nearly gave it 5 stars - but not quite. An awful lot of explaining of geography at the beginning - it made sense in the end, and it was important to know, but didn't make the start any easier.
Great writing from the beginning and a terrific plot build to the finish. I'll definitely read the rest of the series. Wouldn't mind seeing Istanbul either...
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 t...more
The Janissary Tree is an exciting historical mystery set in 19th century Istanbul. It is packed with details that make the story come to life. The original characters (particularly Yashim and the ex-Polish ambassador), good dialogue, well-paced plot and plenty of political intrigue made this atmospheric thriller well worth reading.
Kind of ho-hum mystery plot - actually, the answer to the mystery is a bit vague and mysterious - but wonderful on locale and local color, interesting main character, and historical setting (Istanbul, 1836, Ottoman Empire). I'll read the next in the series and see if the author picks up points in story-line and plotting.
pierlapo  kirby
Capisco che il mercato tiri verso questo genere di prodotti. Prendiamo un periodo storico, qualche personaggio esistito in quel periodo, aggiungiamo altri personaggi di invenzione e spruzziamo il tutto con una trama gialla neanche troppo articolata.
Bè, non che sia scritto male male, ma c'è di meglio in libreria.
Those of us who love Turkey and Istanbul, will delight in Jason Goodwin's books and his endearing protagonist, Yashim the eunuch. Caution: never read his books on an empty stomach!!!! The descriptions of the food and its preparations are too mouth-watering!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Sultan's Seal (Kamil Pasha, #1)
  • Belshazzar's Daughter (Cetin Ikmen, #1)
  • Winter And Night (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #8)
  • The Thief-Taker: Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner
  • Interrupted Aria (Tito Amato, #1)
  • Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924
  • The Fifth Servant
  • Roman Games: A Plinius Secundus Mystery
  • A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January, #1)
  • Firedrake's Eye (David Becket and Simon Ames, #1)
  • Fortune Like the Moon (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #1)
  • The Winter Queen (Erast Fandorin Mysteries, #1)
  • The Chatelet Apprentice (Nicolas Le Floch, #1)
  • The Collaborator of Bethlehem
  • The Innocent Spy (DI Ted Stratton, #1)
  • A Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver, #2)
  • The Wolves of Savernake (Domesday, #1)
  • Thirteenth Night (Fools' Guild, #1)
Jason Goodwin studied Byzantine history at Cambridge University - and returned to an old obsession to write The Gunpowder Gardens or, A Time For Tea: Travels in China and India in Search of Tea, which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Award. When the Berlin Wall fell, he walked from Poland to Istanbul to encounter the new European neighbours. His account of the journey, On Foot to the Golden Hor...more
More about Jason Goodwin...
The Snake Stone (Yashim the Eunuch, #2) The Bellini Card (Yashim the Eunuch, #3) Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch, #4) On Foot to the Golden Horn: A Walk to Istanbul

Share This Book