The Janissary Tree

A Novel

Investigator Yashim (Volume 1)

Jason Goodwin

Sarah Crichton Books

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Be on the lookout for Investigator Yashim’s next adventure, AN EVIL EYE, on sale March 29th!
When Jason Goodwin explored the Ottoman Empire in Lords of the Horizons, The New York Times Book Review hailed it as “a work of dazzling beauty…the rare coming together of historical scholarship…with luminous writing.” Now he returns to Istanbul, with a delicious mystery—The Janissary Tree.

It is 1836. Europe is modernizing, and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the Sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim Lastname, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world. You see, Yashim is a eunuch.

He leads us into the palace’s luxurious seraglios and Istanbul's teeming streets, and leans on the wisdom of a dyspeptic Polish ambassador, a transsexual dancer, and a Creole-born queen mother. And he introduces us to the Janissaries. For 400 years, they were the empire's elite soldiers, but they grew too powerful, and ten years ago, the Sultan had them crushed. Are the Janissaries staging a brutal comeback?

The Janissary Tree is the first in a series featuring the most enchanting detective since Precious Ramotswe of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Splendidly paced and illuminating, it belongs beside Caleb Carr's The Alienist and the historical thrillers of Arturo Perez-Reverte.

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Excerpted from The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin. Copyright © 2006 by Jason Goodwin. Published in May 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.
Yashim flicked at a speck of dust on his cuff.
“One other thing, Marquise,” he murmured.
She gazed at him levelly.
“The papers.”
The Marquise de Merteuil gave a little laugh.
“Flûte! Monsieur Yashim, depravity is not a word we recognize in the Académie.” Her fan played; from behind it she almost hissed, “It is a condition of mind.

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Praise for The Janissary Tree

"An unusual, exotic historical mystery that reads like literature and moves like a thriller." —George Pelecanos, author of Drama City

Praise for Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire:

"A work of dazzling beauty...the rare coming together of historical scholarship and curiosity about distant places with luminous writing...a meditation on a vanished world that hovers like an apparition over today's grim headlines."—The New York Times Book Review (Front page)

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Jason Goodwin

Jason Goodwin’s previous books include Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire and On Foot to the Golden Horn. He lives in Sussex, England, is married with four children, speaks French and German and once walked from Poland to Istanbul.

Jason Goodwin

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Janissary Tree
A Novel
Jason Goodwin


Edgar Allen Poe Award Winner, Macavity Award - Nominee

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sarah Crichton Books
April 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429934374
ISBN10: 1429934379
320 pages

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
May 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312426132
ISBN10: 0312426135
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 336 pages