Rich in sensuous detail, this novel of faith and desire brilliantly captures the political and social upheavals of the waning Ottoman Empire and the contradictory desires of the human soul.
©2006 Jenny White; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks
"The writing is lyrical and the characters enchanting." (Publishers Weekly)
"Court life and customs in old Istanbul are thrillingly captured here, with readers easily transported back to those days when mystery and intrigue lurked around every corner." (Booklist)
The book is interesting. Unfortunately, the narration left a lot to be desired. The Turkish was mispronounced and the accents sounded more like they were from India rather than Turkey. It would have been better if it had sounded more authentic.
I listened to "The Abyssinian Proof" first and loved it, and was looking forward to another Kamil Pasha mystery. However, this one is written in third person, present tense, which really doesn't work. Contrary to the other reviews, I found Nadia May's narration to be perfectly adequate. It's the actually narrative POV I had problems with.
I think one might be inclined to discount this book as yet another romantic suspense. Set in the Victorian period, it is a solid novel that presents a fascinating glimpse of Turkey easing itself into the modern era and dealing with issues such as the role of women and the role of religion in government. It has great characters and a well explicated plot that reveals corruption and ruthlessness.
Unfortunately it is not a great listen. The reader, although not as bad as another reviewer says, is hampered by a recording quality that makes her voice sound muffled. The book uses 3 viewpoints, and, at least until a couple of hours into the book, it was hard for me to get a grip on one of them.
If you enjoy historical mysteries that requre a bit of attention, I would recommend ti
Jenny White clearly knows her setting and uses it to good advantage in this story. But there are too many characters that are not clearly enough drawn to distinguish them from each other, and it makes the intrigues difficult to follow at points. At times the writing drags a bit. It could have been tightened up some with a good edit. And there were a few too many loose ends for my liking. Still all-in-all not a bad read and a reasonable freshman effort. I understand that the next in the series copes with some of these issues (though I haven't read it yet). Those who like the Amelia Peabody series will probably like the Kamil Pasha books.
Nadia May is an excellent narrator for the most part, but her "American" is pretty atrocious: I believe Bernie is from Boston, but she gives him a stereotypical "western" drawl. Still, I'm fond of her as a narrator and recommend her.
"If you've visited Istanbul...."
this is a pleasing frothy coffee of an adventure set in & around recongnisable locations - the narrator's voice is easy to listen to & the intrigue & romance of the setting & plot make for enjoyable listening, perfect when driving - will go on to purchase again from this author/narrator combination
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