With the exception of a painful plot twist, I enjoyed this historical mystery very much.
The book is set in 1490 Constantinople. The setting is wonderful and the author’s descriptions are top-notch. Pacing was excellent, too; the story includes a lot of hiding, running, and waiting, and, with the exception of a few sections of duplication, Turney keeps the ball rolling.
This isn’t a mystery with a big reveal, but an entertaining story set in a fascinating time. This period of history in this part of the world was an interesting amalgam of politics and culture, violence and art. I applaud the author for the authenticity of the setting and for including the limitations set on the characters.
The plot involves a pair of brothers who led very different lives after being conscripted by the Ottomans. The younger brother, Skiorous, becomes a thief and lives by his wits on the streets, while the older brother, Lykaion, completes his training to become a Jannisary, the foreign-born guards of the Sultan. They believe in different gods and live in different cultures, and that part of the plot was excellent.
Having praised the book, I must admit that the suddenness of one of the plot twists was so off-putting that I kept waiting for it to be revealed as a scam. Was the author just playing with me? I was invested in the situation and it just didn’t resolve itself as it should have. Without any spoilers, I will only say that I was disappointed and felt a little cheated, honestly.
There is plenty of violence in this story but few sexual references. I don’t remember any foul language. Highly recommended for historical novel and historical mystery lovers.