The Yashim series by Jason Goodwin

I wouldn't call it steampunk myself, but the genre has expanded and I really do think the books of Jason Goodwin might add to steampunk ideas.

The "Yashim" books, starting with "The Janissary Tree" are about a "private eye" in Istanbul, 1836. So it's definitely Victorian Times, or, as the Turks will probably have it, Ottoman Times. Turkey was a major player in European politics at the time, and the political part is not left out in the stories. The military is part of that.
The hero is Yashim, who moves around in the circles of the high society, has close connections to the Sultan, and his best friend is the Polish ambassador (and more, I don't want to put in spoilers here).
The description of Istanbul in the early 19th century is very vivid. Anyone who is interested in the exotic realms of Victorian times must love it (I think). Mr Goodwin has studied the era and I think it's rather accurate too. Lots of authentic details.

The man has a homepage to check things out.

As for a crime story, I've read better ones. Yet, the setting and the characters are interesting enough to read on. There's a lot in there I didn't know about Turkey. And cooking, hey... I'd like to try the meals.

I do think these books are good stuff if you want to add something exotic to steampunk. Like the Castle of Otranto gives an exotic taste to Gothic Horror. It is beyond colonial steampunk, because the Ottoman Empire never was a colony. The political angles from that era might make some steampunk stories spicey.


  • Hmmmm, it may not be totally steampunk, but it definitely fits into the fringes. I definitely like learning more about countries other than Victorian England in the 1800's. Thanks for the reading recommendation, Yaghish.
  • Sounds like great Victoriental stuff.
  • Does sound good. As you point out, Yaghish, the 'mystery' element to many of these books is not very mysterious - the recent Affinity Bridge being a case in point, where you work out the mystery almost as soon as it's introduced, but then sit back and enjoy the journey. Nothing wrong with that - it worked for Columbo each episode - but it would be nice to have a more rounded product. That's partly why I enjoyed the proofs of Arcadian Snips so much.
  • That's partly why I enjoyed the proofs of Arcadian Snips so much.
    Yes indeed! I certainly agree with you on this one. The excerpts I've read from it evoke just the right amount of mystery and excitement.
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