- THE BAKLAVA CLUB is out on June 5th in the US and UK – and in Estonia on June 1st! It’s set in 1842, six years into our acquaintance with Yashim, who made his first appearance in The Janissary Tree, set in 1836. That’s basically one adventure a year.
The story involves a bunch of young Italian revolutionaries exiled in Istanbul, who see the Pope as their enemy, the enemy of liberal nationalism. Gregory XVI came to the papal throne in 1831, and was a diehard reactionary, determined to resist the spread of modern ideas and democracy – he even took a stand against railways. And of course he wasn’t just the Pope, Vicar of Christ: in those days, he ruled over the extensive Papal States, too. He stood in the way of reform, and a united Italy.
- It contains a delectable Ottoman picnic.
- Yashim falls in love.
- By the early 1840s, much of Europe was controlled by autocrats, including Czar Nicholas of Russia and the Austrian emperor Ferdinand. Growing popular resentment broke out in the liberal revolutions that swept Europe in 1848.
- One of the characters is inspired by a minor character in Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake. And I’ll send a US or UK hardback copy of The Baklava Club to the first person to name them both!