The Sultan's Seal

Jenny White Nadia May

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The Sultan's Seal

The Sultan s Seal The naked body of a young Englishwoman washes up in Istanbul wearing a pendant inscribed with the seal of the deposed sultan The death resembles the unsolved murder of another Englishwoman a governes

  • Title: The Sultan's Seal
  • Author: Jenny White Nadia May
  • ISBN: 9780786172290
  • Page: 482
  • Format: Audio CD
  • The naked body of a young Englishwoman washes up in Istanbul wearing a pendant inscribed with the seal of the deposed sultan The death resembles the unsolved murder of another Englishwoman, a governess, ten years before A magistrate in the new secular courts, Kamil Pasha, sets out to find the killer, but his dispassionate belief in science and modernity is shaken by betrThe naked body of a young Englishwoman washes up in Istanbul wearing a pendant inscribed with the seal of the deposed sultan The death resembles the unsolved murder of another Englishwoman, a governess, ten years before A magistrate in the new secular courts, Kamil Pasha, sets out to find the killer, but his dispassionate belief in science and modernity is shaken by betrayal and widening danger In a lush, mystical voice, a young Muslim woman recounts her own relationship with one of the dead women and with the suspected killer Were these political murders involving the palace or crimes of personal passion 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, transporting listeners to another time and place.

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      Posted by:Jenny White Nadia May
      Published :2018-06-27T09:54:01+00:00

    One thought on “The Sultan's Seal

    1. Trish on said:

      Interesting read. She's a local author for me--Boston University professor of anthropology. Enough sex of all kinds in thereminded me of the kind of thing that thrilled me as a young maiden just glimpsing the possibilities. I do like her central character--a Turkish magistrate of strong character. I imagine swarthy skin and white flowing robesd perhaps a blood-red fezis is a murder mystery after all. The female character of Turkish descent is also interesting (and is the one getting all the sex, [...]

    2. katayoun Masoodi on said:

      loved the tone and the feel of the story, and the plot was interesting, though at times it was a bit, maybe soap opera-ish.

    3. Sabina on said:

      For the first 3/4s of the book this was an elegant mystery, rich in cultural and historical detail. At the end, however, the author chose to pile on the action and everything seemed to be happening at once, not always in a coherent fashion. If it wasn't for that I would have liked to rate this book higher. Jenny White has written numerous non-fiction works on Turkish politics and society, so I expected a lot of cultural and historical detail, and I certainly wasn't disappointed on that score. I [...]

    4. Bill on said:

      I found some of the story arcs in this book confusing at times as I wasn't sure if we were in the present in the past. But I still enjoyed the story very much. I liked the era the story was told in, the late 1800's in Ottoman Turkey, the characters, especially Kamil Pasha, who is called upon to solve the murder of an English woman, and Sybil, the English ambassador's daughter, who helps Kamil with his investigation. I also liked the potential relationship, the physical tension that seemed to be [...]

    5. Amy on said:

      An ok murder-mystery, set in 19th century Turkey. The author's use of present tense writing and jumping between characters while you try to figure out who is doing the talking now is a little disconcerting. The ending seemed a little chopped-off and didn't quite mesh everything together the way I would have liked.

    6. Roshni on said:

      Set in pre-WW1 Istanbul (Stanboul), a magistrate has to navigate the political unrest in the power struggle between the religious and secular government as well as autocratic and democratic systems. To solve a murder he has to wade through murky waters of the intrigues in the royal harem, the delicacy required with a foreigner's death, and the Muslim-Jew relations. The author jumps back and forth between multiple perspectives and the past and present to bring us this excellent, Iain Pears recomm [...]

    7. Laura on said:

      "Murder is always about property, thinks Kamil, not passion in the way poets define it. Passion about something or someone simply means demanding ownership or at least control. Parents want to own their children, husbands their wives, employers their apprentices, supplicants their God. The most passionate of all destroy what they own, thereby making it forever theirs. Much of the world, from politics to commerce, is driven by fear of losing control over people, land, things. Fear that fate is st [...]

    8. Rachel on said:

      What we have here is failure to tell Professor White the truth about her book. Some editor should have taken her aside and said: "Look, you can have have tons of characters and give them all confusing-to-remember names, you can switch between the past and the present, you can tell your story in non-linear fashion, you can switch between using the past tense and the present tense, you can switch up the voice of the narrator between several people, or you can always keep us guessing as to who is a [...]

    9. Jennifer on said:

      I read this for my "Global Whodunits" book group at Primary Source. This one immerses the reader into the dangerous final days of the Ottoman Empire (1880's) in Istanbul. This was a period of great court intrigue and multi-ethnic unrest as the ideas and ideals of European nationalism swept into the empire. Kamil Pasha is the detective called upon to investigate the murder of an Englishwoman, and he quickly links this to an earlier, similar, unsolved case. The case gains intrigue and a sense of d [...]

    10. Babak Fakhamzadeh on said:

      Though the book starts of reasonably promising, it's clear it's no My Name is Red, Snow or even The Bastard of Istanbul or Portrait of a Turkish Family, all set in Turkey, and some, like this one, in Ottoman Turkey, this one near the end of the 19th century. White tries to emulate the elaborate and flowery story telling of the above mentioned Turkish writers, but only marginally succeeds, instead creating a world where characters feel extremely modern, seemingly more at home at the beginning of [...]

    11. Stasybg on said:

      I liked this book quite a lot, although it took me some time to adapt. Used to much faster, even racing modern thrillers, i had to make a conscious effort to slow down and read it. I don't know anything about the author but she seems to have captured the Turkish mindset - everything is done slowly, almost ceremoniously. Appearances and respect are more important than anything, even solving a crime. Family comes first, always. The main protagonist, Kamil Pasha, is a European educated magistrate, [...]

    12. James on said:

      I really wanted to like this book, but alas, the narrative was simply too flawed. There were so many backward and forward changes of time and place that it was nearly impossible to determine the chronology of the tale. Adding to the confusion were constant changes in narration. I was frequently confused as to who was speaking, and whether the time frame was in the present, or eight years in the past.The setting was late nineteenth century Istambul, an era and place that always fires my imaginati [...]

    13. Celia on said:

      Doesn't the title of this book sound incredibly trashy? Like a dreadful romance in the sultan's harem. Thankfully it's not about that at all, but instead a mystery set in 19th century Turkey, which begins when the drowned body of an Englishwoman washes up on the shore. Kamil Pasha, a magistrate, sets out to solve the crime. It's a fascinating setting and written with beautiful details - unfortunately, the murder and the mystery itself didn't enthrall me as much, which is why it only gets 3 stars [...]

    14. Megan on said:

      I loved this book. I think this is a fantastic example of what magic can happen when a historical author discovers she has an aptitude for fiction! The details that White weaves into the story- the clothes, the art, the weather, the customs- bring the characters to life and suck you into their world. Some of the chapters are epistolary, and might have been confusing if White hadn't given each one such a distinct voice and independent mind. Can't wait to read the next in the series!!

    15. Mary N. on said:

      I had a hard time following the story. It took me a while to realize that the author was skipping around in time, but even after I caught on to that, I found the plot pretty convoluted. I enjoyed the setting - Turkey in the 19th century - and found the descriptions of life (clothes, homes, entertainment) during that time quite fascinating. For that reason, I will probably read more by this author.

    16. June on said:

      I enjoyed this.'s basically a murder mystery,but set against the background of Istanbul in the latter stages of the Ottoman empire (Victoria was on the throne of England at the time of this story)There's everything I likea little hint of romance, oriental atmosphere, palace intrigue right up my alley

    17. Anna on said:

      Graceful writing and a vivid historical setting set off Jenny White's intricate tale of political intrigue as she explores culture clash and shifting roles in 1880's Turkey. A nice break from call lights and charting.

    18. Marilyn Fontane on said:

      The Sultan's Seal by Jenny White is an interesting, if flawed, read. Set in the 1880's in Ottoman Turkey, there are really two stories that are interlaced. One of a murder investigation by Kamil Pasha, a magistrate in the new secular courts, of an English governess in the royal household, Mary Dixon, which he thinks is tied in somehow to a previous (8 years ago) murder of another English governess in the same royal household, Hannah Simons. Kamil must be very careful because of political intrigu [...]

    19. Victoria Pinto Rivas on said:

      La edición de RBA que tengo es reciente y es de 387 páginas XD. Pero bueno, dejando de lado ese pequeño detalle, vayamos a lo que nos ocupa.El libro de White, el primero de la trilogía del magistrado Kamil Bajá, refleja el amplio conocimiento que la autora (una antropóloga, por cierto) tiene sobre la cultura turca. Su capacidad descriptiva es capaz de hacerte imaginar que estás en los barrios de la multicultural Estambul, siguiendo las pistas dejadas por un criminal que, a primera vista, [...]

    20. Rich on said:

      Unusual book for me to read. Yet, that was part of the appeal. If it is an accurate depiction of life in Istanbul in 1880s, then it opens the reader to a new understanding of relationships between British and other nationalities as well as Islam. It was a slow read for me, not the result of the author, but my condition. Nevertheless I was interested in the plot. It seemed like all the details of "resolving" the main issues happened in last 20 pages. Almost like "it's late and we have to finish." [...]

    21. Sylvia Kane on said:

      It's been a while since I read this book, but I remember not being able to put it down, and buying the rest of the series as soon as I could. The characters were likable and interesting, and the details of setting and place were rich. A great historical mystery.

    22. Karen GoatKeeper on said:

      Surprisingly this is a murder mystery set in the late 1880s in the Ottoman Empire. This Empire is ruled by a Sultan afraid of his own people, employing secret police to root out any possible threats to his absolute rule. There are such political intrigues. Yes, they do figure in the murder. Or do they? And how is this murder linked to an unsolved murder also of a young woman several years earlier?Kamil Pasha (called pasha because his father was a pasha) is Cambridge educated in a British attempt [...]

    23. Graham Tapper on said:

      Picked up this purely by chance, thinking initially, from the cover, that it was some sort of historical romance. It turns out to be a detective novel set in Turkey, around Istanbul, at the end of the 19th century. It is a time of turmoil and events are in motion that will lead up to Turkey's involvement in WWI and ultimately to the country's move to a secular democratic state, forged from a dissolute, decaying empire by Kemal Ataturk.The central character is the detective, Kamil Pasha, who lead [...]

    24. Riayl on said:

      The different POVs and tenses in each chapter took a little getting used to but eventually I found myself able to get into the rhythm of the story. I found the setting and the main character interesting, along with a lot of minor characters. I wasn't terribly fond of the secondary characters, especially the love interest - but that was mostly due to her being well-written as a privileged young British woman in a foreign country who truly believes that other countries are better off and "enlighte [...]

    25. liz on said:

      Yet another example of a novel written by an anthropologist whose details just blow me away. This one takes place in Turkey in the late 1800s, and centers around the British ex-pat and (to a lesser degree) Jewish communities. There's also the regular complexities of police jurisdiction when foreigners are involved, who has the authority to investigate what, and what they can say about it. It does get a little convoluted, and the ending isn't totally satisfying because it's trying to be a mystery [...]

    26. Elizabeth Sulzby on said:

      The Sultan's Seal is the first in a trilogy set in the late 1800's in Istanbul with Magistrate Kamil Pasha investigating the murder of a young woman. Author Jenny White is a professor of anthropology at Boston University. I've read the other two already. I am giving this book 4 stars because of its fit within the trilogy although it is not nearly as satisfying as the other two books.The character of Kamil Pasha is a complex and intriguing one in the full trilogy but less fleshed out in The Sulta [...]

    27. Ann on said:

      This mystery is set in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire.When the nude body of an English governess is washed up a bank of the Bosporus River it is up to the local magistrate, Kamil Pasha, to investigate.He determines that she was murdered, and discovers a possible link to the death of another English governess eight years prior. Both women were wearing a distinctive necklace inscribed with Chinese pictographs and an authentic seal of the Sultan's, which very few people would have access to. [...]

    28. Diane on said:

      This book is the first in a detective series set in late 19th century Istanbul. Magistrate Kamil Pasha investigates the deaths of two young English governesses who drown mysteriously. The book is well-written, and evokes the period nicely, including both Ottoman and English characters. The author puts her knowledge of history to use in developing the plot. She also does a good job with character development, such that I am disappointed that she did not continue with some of the characters (beyon [...]

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