Chandler's Reviews > The Janissary Tree

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin
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May 19, 2011

really liked it
Read in April, 2011

Okay for some this might seem normal but to me a book about a Ottoman Eunich detective is a fun and fascinating premise. Yashmin Togalu appears to be the man to call when you need a mystery solved. In this book he has two: the murder of a harem virgin the night she is supposed to sleep with Sultan Mahmud II and also the disappearance of four engineering soldiers.

Sultan Mahmud II brutally destroyed the Janissaries in what was as The Auspicious Incident. The Janissaries were ferocious fighters who had helped the Ottoman empire expand but they lost their core morality and began tormenting, controlling and destroying the people they were hired to protect.

There is political intrigue, with a Polish Ambassador without a country to represent (who just happens to be Yashmin's best friend). There are the Russians who might be up to no good. The Russian's Ambassador's wife does things with an eunich I never thought possible. Other delicius characters include the Sultan's mother and a dancer who I never determined if this dancer was a he, she or other and if this dancer was a truly a prostitute. Now is that the fault of the writer or of the reader? Heaven knows...

Also this book has cooking recipes in it that make your mouth water as Yashmin throws in a bit of this and rice and some of that...

Now what I loved most about this book was to learn about Byzantine History and customs and about eunichs. All things I needed to learn more about!
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