Istanbul in winter snow, in the days before electricity. After reading Jenny White’s new novel ‘The Winter Thief’, I can no longer walk down a dark and muddy street in Istanbul – yes, they still exist — without thinking of the dangers that lurked here for White’s characters. The atmosphere she conjures up in this third volume of her Kamil Pasha series is captivating. It helps me read on in those places where the sympathetic Kamil Pasha is just a little too clever, his sister a little too brave, or the Armenian captive of the psychopathic chief of the secret service a little too fortunate. White is an entertaining writer, strong in her description of an epic battle between a budding socialist community in the east of the Empire and the forces of the Sultan, or a tender love scene between Kamil Pasha and the mysterious, brutalized Elif. If you feel like diving into the late Ottoman times where suspicion and intrigue in luxurious palaces set the scene, The Winter Thief is a good book to curl up with.
The Winter Thief: a Kamil Pasha Novel
By Jenny White
Published March 2010
WW Norton & Co.