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38 Reviews
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63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And let not the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree
Isaiah 56:3

Investigator Yashim, the hero of Jason Goodwin's first novel, "The Janissary Tree" may be a Turkish eunuch but it is not at all likely that anyone reading this book will think of him as a "dry tree". In fact, if Yashim's steamy encounter with the beautiful but lonely wife of the Russian ambassador to Turkey halfway through the book is any...
Published on 13 Jun 2006 by Leonard Fleisig

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overall enjoyable but plot lets it down a touch
I enjoyed the book overall and would recommend it as a light-hearted historical romp. Yashim is a good character and Goodwin is very good at bringing to life a sketch of 19th century Istanbul. In many ways there is a touch of the Flashman about the novel and to me that can only be a good thing.

If I were to knock it at all, I must say I felt the book ended a...
Published on 25 Aug 2011 by Peter Sandham


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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turkish Delight, 18 Aug 2006
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Contrary to popular belief, eunuchs are in reality capable of satisfying a woman (and themselves), there just aren't any children afterwards. This book was absolutely brilliant, kind of in the vein of Lindsey Davis' Falco series set in ancient Rome, but darker. The historical details were woven in with ease so the reader was hardly aware of them, and the characters were very convincing. Can't wait for Yashim to return to tackle more cases!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More, please, 12 Aug 2013
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What a wonderful discovery this author is. Jason Goodwin is a born storyteller who has the ability to transport the reader on a magic carpet ride, in this case, to 19th century Istanbul. I can't wait to read the rest of the 'Yashim' series and I do hope that there will be more. Unputdownable - More please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a trip to 1830s Istanbul, 16 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Janissary Tree (A 'Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery) (Paperback)
Jason Goodwin does two key things in this book. Firstly, he transports you completely to 1830s Istanbul with a variety of scene and precision of detail that you might expect from a scholar of the Ottamans. Secondly, he never forgets to entertain the reader, so our mix of characters move through a fantastic variety of shorts scenes that keeps the pace of the plot lively. It's evocative, solacious, violent and just plain wonderful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real history, with syle and substance, 22 Dec 2012
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This book's structure suits its magnificent, 1836 Istanbul, substance: "an endless circuit, snake swallowing snake. Frustration and excitement and pleasure in equal measure - and without issue." (p. 304). Every chapter closes with an unresolved frustration, which is picked up and dealt with only a few pages later, thanks to short chapters, yielding the excitement of anticipation and the pleasure of fulfilment as you progress through a story which uses a plot full of mirth to present the character of a unique city in the 1830s. And the characterisation is what matters most (to me), since it is history brought alive. Human insight is an added extra: "Bitterness is not a better kind of grief, Zucci. Grief has its place, but bitterness invades a wound like rot. Slowly, bit by bit, it shuts you down. And in the end, even though you are alive, you are really dead." (p.144)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cut above, 20 Dec 2012
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For me the perfect combination. Original detective hero and a perfect setting. Although I am unable to time travel, Istanbul is a place that now I have inhabited in print I know wish to visit in person.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 11 Dec 2012
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Good story, excellent depiction of the Istanbul of the period, quite well written and generally a good read. I will definitely buy more of this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting historical detective novel, 9 Nov 2012
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Really enjoyed this one. Interesting twist to have a eunuch as the main character - learnt a lot about passion (or not!), longing & acceptance of one's lot. As well as early 19th Century Istanbul.
Well written with interesting plot lines and a good twist at the end I would recommend as a light read. I will certainly search out more from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action/Sleuth Eunuch tries to save Empire, 29 Dec 2011
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Lee Hanley (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Janissary Tree (A 'Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery) (Paperback)
"Action" and "Eunuch" are two words you wouldn't normally expect to associate with each other but Jason Goodwin manages to pull it off in his character Yashim in this excellent book. Some of his adventures are outlandish with a bizarre mix of diplomat, sleuth, fire fighter, action hero, cook and yes even ladies man coming to the fore.

It is all a bit much at times, a Turkish Superhero who is missing the lettuce in his ham sandwich. Sometimes the colloquial British terms used to spice up the base characters grates a bit as well.

What the author does do is capture the decayed nature of Istanbul in the 1830's as well as the sheer madness of the Sultan's system of Government and the sprawl of empire in decline, ripping itself to pieces. The plot is complex with many twists, more than enough to satisfy the most demanding reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice evocation of time and place, 7 Oct 2011
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hiljean (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Janissary Tree (A 'Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery) (Paperback)
I read this during a cruise which stopped at Istanbul (which I have visited previously for a short stay) and I must say this novel nicely captures the sense of time and place.

I thought Yashim was an original and compelling character although some of his experiences were a little far-fetched to say the least. Nevertheless I romped through this fairly quickly (always easier on holiday I know) and am surprised at those who found it slow and hard to get into. I enjoyed the unravelling plot but at the end I thought the whole thing got rather too complicated and I actually gave up caring who did what as the twists and turns kept happening.

Nevertheless I found it overall an enjoyable read and would happily pick up the sequel to find out what Yashim does next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better History than Mystery!, 27 May 2010
This review is from: The Janissary Tree (A 'Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery) (Paperback)
I read this book on holiday and while it wasn't a compelling page turner. It did keep me interested and wanting more.

Overall, the historical detail in the book was the best part.

If you take the mystery out of the context, it was quite inconsistent. The plot seemed to develop by accident at various stages and some of the Yalim's main allies and foes were incidental characters that suddenly became prominent at the end. The historical information made these shortcomings easy to overlook.
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The Janissary Tree (A 'Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery)
The Janissary Tree (A 'Yashim the Eunuch' Mystery) by Jason Goodwin (Paperback - 7 Jun 2007)
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