THE JANISSARY TREE, by Jason Goodwin

1/series. It’s almost always a pleasure to read a historical novel by an expert on the time and place: Goodwin is a noted scholar of the Ottoman Empire and his writing style is erudite and still readable. This brilliant first book in a series starring Inspector Yashim – young, handsome, intelligent, a eunuch – revolves around the slave-warrior caste of the Janissaries, in 1836 now disgraced and disbanded…but not defeated. The characters and varies and fascinatng (and beautifully drawn), plot twists and turns are subtle and skilful, the plotting builds to a fine crescendo…I can hardly wait for the next one. It’s a 5.