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The Janissary Tree

by Jason Goodwin

Yashim the Eunuch is a spectacularly unlikely hero for a crime novel. Underrated and unnoticed he slips effortlessly between the Court of Mahmut IV, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the underworld of 1830s' Istanbul. At times very funny, this accomplished novel will obviously appeal to fans of crime fiction, but those readers who enjoy historical fiction and good travel writing might also like to give this a try.

Extract

He glanced down at the girl's body and felt a pang of pity. So flawless: death had made her more like a jewel, lustrous and cold, her beauty beyond all power of touch. And he thought sadly, I will die like her: a virgin. More mangled in my case. He blocked the thoughts, quickly: years ago they had maddened and tormented him, but he had learned to control them. They were his thoughts, his desires, and so he could sheath them like a sword. He was alive. That was good.

Parallels

The Moon Tunnel by Jim Kelly
The Columbian Mule by Massimo Carlotto
 

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