The first offering in this detective series set in Istambul in the 1830's. Yashim is on the trail of a conspirary of former soldiers "The Janissaries" while trying to solve the murder of a woman in the Sultan's harem and the theft of the Sultan's mother precious jewels given to her by Napoleon's wife Josephine. The setting is exotic, the plot is intriguing. Yashim is endearing. Those are the pluses. But... this book suffers from what I've nicknamed the "Dan Brown syndrome" 132 chapters for 300 pages amounts to 2 and 1/4 pages by chapters. It's annoying, it's very, very annoying. I don't have the attention span of a gerbil thank you very much. The pace of the action, the way the plot is managed suffer greatly from this choice. Luckyly, the short span chapter temper off in the last third of the book saving it for me. The details on the way people live, the city, the seraglios, Yashim's particular situation (he's an eunuch) the "war" the Europeans are waging in the area with the "Great Game" between Russia, the Germans, the British and the French in the background make the plot and action interesting and keep your reading.