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....
In a gender reversal of Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights: Tales from a 1,001 Nights, Ottoman princess Esma Sultan 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 her 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.
©2013 Linda Lafferty (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
I forced myself to finish this book all the way to the very end, in the sad hope that at some point the plot/characters would be explained and everything would make sense and come together. It didn't. Even given the low low expectations that I set for 'romance' books this one was bad. I'd say that the plot was lacking, but that implies there was something resembling a plot. It seemed early on that the book was going to be about how Ivan falls in love with Esma as she tells him how she came to murder all her lovers. Nope. Not to spoil things, but nothing is every explained. Why does the sultan murder all Esma's lovers? Why, if she feels as bad as she seems to, does she continue to take lovers knowing they are going to be murdered? The whole premise makes no sense. There is zero chemistry between the two main characters, mostly because they realistic characters in any way shape or form.
Rather than filling up the ten hours with plot, the author has fallen into the historical fiction writing trap of describing irrelevant things that may or may not be interesting but have nothing really to do with the plot that she learned while doing research. Pointless descriptions and odd tangents fill up most of the time in this book.
The only good thing about this book was the narrator, who did as good a job as she could with the material she was given.
Bottom line: don't waste your money, not even if its on sale.
I purchased this book on sale and have had it in my library for a while until a few days ago when I finally decided to listen to it. I found the story fascinating. I'm not sure why the two reviews on Audible were poor but the Amazon reviewers seemed to really enjoy the book. Historically accurate to it's time and well developed characters were two strong points about this book. The love story also was very believable and I absolutely loved the giant hero's good and evil sides. He was far from perfect but that is what made him so real especially for his time. The only weak point to the story was, in my opinion, it's ending. Without giving it away, I was hoping for an even better ending. The entire story got built to the end and then I felt a bit let down. I guess I wanted more. More of the happily ever after and not a short two minute clean up session. Other than that I truly enjoyed this book.
I know, it is a poor review, but it is my opinion. I cannot continue listening. I wouldn't waste my money on this one. The narrator is good, though. She has a pleasant voice. I just got carried away by the sale, but now I know why it was on sale. It is hard to follow and does not hold my attention.
Nurse, mom, loved to read....but now I love to listen. When I retire I hope to hear waves crashing in 1 ear and audible in the other!
I did not learn one thing about the Ottoman Empire and it wasn't much of a romance either. The first 10 hours killed me and the last 8 minutes were fair! I am going to stick with authors I know when a sale pops up.
"A wonderful trip back to the Ottoman Empire"
A wonderful trip back to the Ottoman Empire. The novel is filled with love, cruelty, suspense, and the clash of beliefs of the social castes of characters whose lives entwine by chance and finally by choice in this wonderful historical novel.
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