Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

An Evil Eye: Investigator Yashim in the Sultan’s Seraglio

Posted by nliakos on January 29, 2015

by Jason Goodwin (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011)

I got the books mixed up, and read this, the fourth in the series, before reading the third, The Bellini Card. I’ve put a hold on that one and should have it shortly. In the meantime, An Evil Eye narrates some of the changes that take place when the new sultan, Abdulmecid, takes the reins of power after his father’s death. The son has his own harem, which means that the women and children of the former sultan must be turned out. There’s plenty of intrigue along with the shift in power as the women try to hang on to their life of relative luxury and security.

Yashim is also involved in the hunt for Fevzi Ahmet, admiral of the Ottoman navy. He has apparently just turned over the Ottoman fleet to the rebellious Egyptians. Yashim has dark memories of this man, who was his teacher and mentor, but never a friend. We see the old sultan’s mother, the valide, becoming more and more frail, but she still has her indomitable spirit. Ambassador-without-country Palewski plays a role, and there’s a newcomer, too: Kadri, a clever runaway from the Palace School whom Yashim tracks down and places with Palewski. He will play a crucial role before the novel is done.

I found this story the easiest of all to follow, or maybe I am just getting used to Goodwin’s style, or his cast of characters.

While waiting for The Bellini Card, I have started reading Goodwin’s history of the Ottoman Empire, Lords of the Horizons.

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