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The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire
 
 

The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire [Kindle Edition]

Linda Lafferty
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

2014 winner Colorado Book Award - Historical Fiction

Each morning in the hour before dawn, a silent boat launches on the Bosphorous, moving swiftly into the deepest part of the waters halfway between Europe and Asia, where a man will die…

The Drowning Guard is the tale of the Ottoman princess, Esma Sultan—one of the most powerful women in Ottoman history and unlike any other woman in the Islamic world. In a gender reversal of Scheherazade in 1001 Arabian Nights, Esma seduces a different Christian lover each night, only to have him drowned in the morning. The Sultaness's true passion burns only for the Christian-born soldier charged with carrying out the brutal nightly death sentence: her drowning guard, Ivan Postivich.

The Drowning Guard explores the riddle of Esma—who is at once a murderer and a champion and liberator of women—and the man who loves her in spite of her horrifying crimes. This textured historical novel, set in the opulence and squalor of Istanbul in 1826, is woven with the complexity and consequences of love.

About the Author

The daughter of a naval commander, Linda Lafferty attended fourteen different schools growing up, ultimately graduating from the University of Colorado with a master's degree and a PhD in education. Her peripatetic childhood nourished a lifelong love of travel, and she studied abroad in England, France, Mexico, and Spain. Her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo when she was just ten years old, and she enjoys playing to this day. She also competed on the Lancaster University Riding Team in England in stadium jumping, cross country, and dressage. A veteran school educator, she is also the author of The Bloodletter's Daughter. She lives in Colorado.


Product details


More About the Author

The daughter of a naval commander, Linda Lafferty attended fourteen different schools growing up, ultimately graduating from the University of Colorado with a master's degree and a PhD in education. Her peripatetic childhood nourished a lifelong love of travel, and she studied abroad in England, France, Mexico, and Spain. Her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo when she was just ten years old, and she enjoys playing to this day. She also competed on the Lancaster University Riding Team in England in stadium jumping, cross country, and dressage. A veteran school educator, she juggled teaching and horse training while writing The Bloodletter's Daughter. She lives in Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
108 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction 11 Jun 2013
By Mr. G. Johns VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As soon as I began reading this novel I was hooked! It was difficult to put the book down. Although it is a work of fiction, it is based on fact - and I coined a descriptive word for this type of novel - Faction - combination of fiction and fact. Unlike 'Inferno' by Dan Brown where the bulk of his book was just padding, this author included historical events which were pertinent to the plot. Absolutely superb - I look forward to reading further novels by Linda Lafferty. This book was about the Ottoman Empire in the early nineteenth century - exceedingly brilliantly written! Thank you Ms Lafferty.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A super read. 16 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was not at all sure that I would like this book and on reading the first chapter I still felt apprehensive but I am so glad that I persisted and read on to enjoy one of the most enjoyable books that I have read recently. The accuracy of the information about the Ottomans and their culture was very informative. I will recommend this book to friends and family. Well done Linda.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Drowning Guard 23 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Easy to read, captures interest quickly; storyline is easy to follow, and descriptions of local sights and sounds excellent. It is well worth a read!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book from the start 13 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Totally captivating from the start. Compelling characters and insights to the ottoman era. I recommend this book to anyone. Glad to have read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and captivating 9 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yes, unusual and captivating! Set in the Sultan's palaces in Istanbul, this is a very sexy book! Sexy in the sense of deep dark action, relationships and exotic surroundings.
My own lifetime interest in all things Turkish was enhanced by so much in this imaginative novel - excellent background research of history and artifacts and the personnel of the Ottoman Sultan's court.
And a powerful love story!
I enjoyed it very much, and find myself remembering aspects of the story weeks later. You can't say that about many novels !
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disagree with previous reviews 3 Nov 2013
By Heather
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought this kindle book largely based on the fairly high number of good reviews, but wish I had researched a little more or tried a sample first. I found the story tedious and melodramatic, and the plot consistently easy to guess. I was interested in learning more about the Ottoman era, but the level of detail isn't as effective as other historical novels, and I felt as though I hadn't really picked up much insight at all. I found the main characters a little one-dimensional and boring - aggressive feminist and male traditionalist fall in love, and the main story behind having a 'drowning guard' in the first place is never really explained. An easy read with interesting links to actual events in the Ottoman history, but sadly the plot was not for me.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vibrant feast of wonders 18 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that you just know is going to be really good, before you start reading it. Well, I was not disappointed, as this was just pure pleasure to read and absorb. The 19th century setting of Constantinople, by then the crown jewel of the Ottoman Empire, welcomes the reader with rich, beautifully detailed history and religion, enticing him with its mysterious gripping storyline. The beautiful princess Esma Sultan, an early champion of women, takes centre stage with her wonderous harem, strength of character and unusual sexual practices. As if this was not enough, there is also passion, hatred, fear and sorrow, encompassing this period of Ottoman rule, with devious spies, janissary revolts, haunting images, and bloody massacres combining fact and fiction in a great read. Will appeal to all, but women especially should read this. I am glad I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Old history in a new guise? 13 April 2014
By Jane-Anne Shaw, MA VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I downloaded this to the Kindle for strictly leisure reading but, aside from light cast on such as the 'Satanic verses' (suras of the Qu'ran possibly alluding to females, p. 373, etc., vel sim) and the already well-known history of the Janissaries, the book has little to recommend it - at least, to me.
The 'drowning guard' himself is a 'kapikulu' - neither slave nor free. A giant Serbian, taken from his home in a Balkan raid, the so-called system of devşirme, he has been a Janissary çorbaci (leader of an orta or battalion) but demoted, for various reasons, to being employed as personal executioner to an Ottoman princess. Set against the 1826 revolt and massacre of the Janissary corps, the novel is uneven and ultimately unsatisfactory. History's events are reduced to a personal conflict between Mahmud the Second and his half-sister, Esma Sultan - a woman said to have entertained an untold number of Christian lovers: young men subsequently drowned in the Bosphorus. The historical drama invokes Scheherazade as Esma decides to relate the tale of her life to her 'drowning guard,' by way of shared guilt.
Lafferty's authority for her background is loosely based on two pages of Lord Patrick Kinross (1977) The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire (London: Perennial). The burning of the Janissary barracks and thus the murder of more than 4000 men referred to as 'the Auspicious Incident.' (At the same time, June 1826, regular Ottoman soldiers attacked and destroyed the Janissary base in Thessaloniki, killing over 10,000; the last of them beheaded in 'the blood tower.')
The uncertainties of life under a capricious ruler are fairly well conveyed but, apart from didactic facts which can be ascertained, the narrative is not equal to its subject matter. Combining fact and fiction is a chancy exercise (the worst examples are referred to as 'laundry list' writing). Sorry - this one didn't quite come off. ...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing idea but a bit disappointing
It was a good subject for a book but unfortunately I didn't find it very believable or involving. The main characters were very thinly drawn.
Published 1 day ago by Mrs VM Leatham
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting book.
Published 5 days ago by Parker Lynda
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting plot and a tiny bit of history
Published 10 days ago by Mrs Pat Marriage
5.0 out of 5 stars but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. I shall be looking out for...
I wasn't sure about this book at first, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it. I shall be looking out for more books by Linda Lafferty.
Published 12 days ago by Anner
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read
It took a little while to get into but then most enjoyable and well written,! with many interesting historical facts woven in. Read more
Published 21 days ago by N. Porter-Thaw
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful book
I bought this in a package. Totally dreadful, is anyone really expected to read such dross. Nothing at all to recommend
Published 29 days ago by Carolyn49
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating topic
Initial intrigue into ancient customs but progressed into a fanciful Hollywood Block Buster film plot. Kept me interested to the end.
Published 1 month ago by Nogbad
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable read
When I read the sample of this I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, but it wasn't as brutal as the first part lead you to believe. I really enjoyed this book
Published 1 month ago by Rosemary Birks
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story
If only half of the story is true it is a fascinating insight into a place and people.
Frightening to think that we haven't moved on that much!!
Published 1 month ago by diana roche
4.0 out of 5 stars very good read
I loved losing myself in this book. Loved the ending not what I thought it would be ! Very insightful. I recommended this book
Published 1 month ago by Robin Hood
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