I was rushing across the North Atlantic to war, but with an intention I'd never had before. I needed to sort out what I was doing, give myself a pep talk. I was a reporter. A war correspondent. I knew how to look for news, for the truth. It had always been my job to snoop around, and because I knew how to do that well, in Mexico I'd happened upon news of deep importance to Washington. Private importance. So now the process was inverted. Now the snooping would be for Washington and I would just happen upon stories for the Post-Express. I wanted to do this. I had seen too much of the savage impulses of men, impulses that we ultimately could not deal with as individuals. I was lucky to be an American. We Americans were also men and could foul things up pretty badly, but our declared ideal was to find a way to make it possible to stop the savagery. To govern without savagery. To live with other governments without savagery. To live with ourselves without savagery. It is what we believe. And so I remained Christopher Cobb, reporter, even as I began to play a more important role in the world. But I was used to finding things out by following the acts of men that are clear to see, out in the open, with their immediate goals readily understandable. This work I was doing now was different.
"[An] outstanding work of historical fiction.Huntington News
"The Star of Istanbul has it all: history galore, exotic foreign settings, a world-weary yet engaging protagonist, villains in abundance and a romance worthy of Bogart and Bergman.BookPage
"Double and triple crosses merge like lanes in a traffic roundabout, and . . . the novel commingles character-driven historical fiction with melodrama and swashbuckling action. Somehow . . . it all works; on one level, Butler is playing with genre conventions in an almost mad-scientist manner, but at the same time, he holds the reader transfixed, like a kid at a Saturday matinee."Booklist (starred review)
"Butler impresses with his exceptional attention to historical detail, particularly aboard the Lusitania."Publishers Weekly
"While The Star of Istanbul meets the genre requirements for action and plotting, the precision and lyricism of Butler's language, his incisive observations, his psychologically complex characters, and his understanding of the past lift this novel well into a genre of its own.Arts Fuse
"Butler's grasp of history is excellent. . . . You will enjoy every new twist and turn in this spy game.Arab Voice