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Alice W. (Sacramento, CA)
The Drowining Guard
Well, this was not a favorite of mine. I love reading about the Ottoman Empire, the Janniseries (sp), Turkey, but somehow it didn't pull together. I found the writing weak. Even though the main character is not fictional, the plot seemed highly unlikely
Shirin M. (Beverly Hills, CA)
The Drowning Guard
An interesting book about a culture and period that may not be well known to many. A character driven story with some explicit and violent descriptions that make for a difficult read at times.
Stephanie W. (Strongsville, OH)
The Drowning Guard
It took me a little while to get into this book. I wasn't sure if I was interested, but then suddenly, I couldn't put it down. I was completely drawn in to the characters and the beautiful descriptions of life in the Palaces of the Ottomans. I was intrigued to read of a time and place that I knew little about and I enjoyed the plot twists and the people. So glad I didn't give up on this wonderful book!
Phyllis R. (Rochester Hills, MI)
Ottoman Empire and more
I read historical fiction to learn something and in reading "The Drowning Guard", I learned much about the Ottoman Empire which encompassed the modern states of Romania, Hungary, "Egypt, parts of Greece including Macedonia, Anatolia, Syria, Libya, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Persia.
Shelley C. (Eastport, NY)
A Real Gem
Although the main character is fictional, all the Sultans, and hierarchy of imperial society are historical. The role of women and the Satanic Verses are depicted, as well as, all the sights, sounds and smells of Constantinople and its Spice Bazaar.
I have just completed, "The Drowning Guard", and could not wait to write this review. I have always appreciated Historical Novels, but this is a real gem! It is beautifully written with language that truly evokes the emotions of the characters as well as the feeling of the settings. I felt as if I was living in the palaces of the sultan and the sultaness. I could smell the cinnamon and jasmine of the hallways and rooms. I was able to picture the beautiful silks worn by the characters. Linda Lafferty breathed life into people who lived nearly two hundred years ago and I thank her for the opportunity to have been able to spend even this brief time in the world of her characters. I loved, loved, loved this book! I would definitely recommend it to my book club.
Alison F. (Clearwater, FL)
The Drowning Guard by Linda Lafferty
Linda Lafferty's The Drowning Guard offers a interesting perspective of the struggles of power in Istanbul in 1826. This historical novel gave insight into the history of the Ottoman Empire and particularly that of the rule in Turkey, the relationship with the Janissaries and the bloody times during shifts of power. The book was very readable and centers around the internal struggle with good and evil that the Sultaness and her Christian drowning guard experience related to the power and control of the Sultan. The retelling of tales sometimes dragged a bit but about half way through the book its plot became much more compelling. I loved reading about the Sultaness and her harem and her ability to protect women in a harsh society for them.
Sandra S. (Charlotte, NC)
Not a book for everyone. . .
This book has a strong themes within it. Detestable acts, despicable and atrocious acts are committed throughout.There are terms and words common to the time and place and they can be confusing at times. However, if you love history and are interested in a story about two unusual and flawed characters, you should give this book a chance. I did, and I don't regret it.
Patricia S. (Chicago, IL)
The Drowning Guard
When I first read the description of this book it didn't sound like something I'd ever pick up on my own. But the setting in early 19th-century Constantinople was a nice change from England and the Ottoman princess was certainly exotic. What difference did it make if she was also a murderess? Not as much as I thought it would. I found this book very atmospheric; the Bosphorus was almost a character in its own right. The (other) characters were well done, the secondary ones surprisingly so, and they were believable enough to keep me interested. While Esma Sultane's actions did not make sense to me, the history included in her reminiscences were fascinating, and I was very taken with Ivan and Esme's harem ladies. If you want something very dark and moody, with a wonderfully realized setting and characters that come alive, this book is for you.