A Court at Constantinople is set in Ishtanbul, during the end of the 19th century. Constantinople is a fascinating place, and to read about it set in 1859 is even more so. James, the main character, is a barrister, and sent to Constantinople. He doesn’t know anything about the place, the people or what he is supposed to do in Constantinople.
We soon learn about the other main characters as well, Rosamund and Mehmed. Rosamund is determined to escape a grim future set up for her by her father. Mehmed is an Ottoman law student, assigned to work with James. Their views and lives are so very different, and yet, soon in the book, their paths meet and intertwine.
Anthony Earth, the author, has done a great job in bringing such different characters together. The story is filled with twists and turns, unexpected meetings, new characters, and it’s all leading through to the end of the book.
A Court at Constantinople is all about the Law, using it, abusing it, changing laws and adapting laws. Mehmed thoroughly dislikes the English determining the laws and courts in Constantinople. A Court in Constantinople brings out the workings of the British courts oversees and the resentment it caused as well as some level of stability and security.
Anthony Earth has included a lot of research, skilfully woven into the story. There is a lot of lawyer references, but it’s easy to follow, even if you have never dreamed of being a barrister. Not only the Ottoman Empire was struggling; the book brings out a lot about the way women were seen in society, their rights and privileges. Rosamund is an interesting character, and her spirited way of taking on life kept the story on its toes.
A Court at Constantinople is a fascinating read, as Anthony deals with a historical setting involving laws. Not just British law, but Ottoman rules, Sharia Law as well as other international rules. The book is very detailed, but it didn’t really slow the story down too much, as the characters were such interesting people. Some of the characters, like Rosamund, deserve a follow up story..!
A Court at Constantinople deals with an interesting city, filled with people and their cultures. It brings out some of the known side of Constantinople, and some of the more hidden facets. As I said, the research that went into the story shines through, giving it a lot more depth and making for a thoroughly enjoyable read. Especially near the end, the troubles surrounding Rosamund and the two men, kept me turning the pages!
I received a copy via Love Books Tours but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.