When the body of a Russian agent is found down a monastery well, Yashim knows exactly who to blame. Fevzi Ahmet Pasha, commander of the Ottoman fleet.
Years ago, when Yashim first entered the sultan's service, Fevzi Ahmet was his mentor. Ruthless, cruel, and - in Yashim's eyes - ultimately ineffective, he is the only man who makes him afraid. And now Yashim must confront the secret that Fevzi Pasha has been keeping all these years, a secret whose roots lie deep in the tortured atmosphere of the sultan's harem, where normal rules are suspended, and women can simply disappear.
Once again, Yashim and his friends encounter treachery and politics, played out against the backdrop of 1840s Istanbul.