“Kavim: the saint’s revenge” by Ahmet Ümit

This article is also available in: Italiano

“Kavim” is Ahmet Ümit’s latest thrilling thriller, able to immerse you in the history of Turkish religion and politics, tying you to the chair twist after twist

Kavim: the saint’s revenge

A man lying on a sofa with a cross-shaped dagger stuck in his chest, next to a Bible left open, some sentences underlined with blood and the name of a Syriac saint written on the side of the page … Thus begins a new investigation for the commissioner Nevzat and his assistants, discovering the roots of Christianity and the ancient peoples who inhabit Anatolia.

On a journey through the history of Turkey from antiquity to the present day, Ahmet Ümit gives us a new exciting adventure and among reincarnated saints, a fascinating queen of the Istanbul mafia and an atheist professor of theology wonders about the great central theme of the work : what is justice?

A detective story about Christianity and faith (no spoiler section)

Ahmet Ümit is without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest Turkish and world crime writers and also in this case he stages a small masterpiece capable of both entertaining and opening new horizons to the reader. This time the brave commissioner Nevzat will have to insert himself into an ancient mystery that concerns both Syriacs and Alawites (or, to put it in the Turkish language, Nusayri), also investigating the religious history of Antioch and the province of Mardin, the place where it stands. the monastery of Mor Gabriel. These places are more than ever connected with the figure of Paul of Tarsus and with a whole series of Gnostic beliefs which, according to the author, influenced more than ever the ideas and precepts of the Church, making them more decisive than ever for discovering the Christianity of the origins. Among other things, within the novel there is also a character who is convinced that he is the reincarnation of Saint Paul, an element that is more than ever recurring in the book.


Among ancient mysteries, dreams of saints, murders and twists, “Kavim” will enchant every reader, forcing him to give us a well-deserved rest and immerse himself more and more in a mystery that, step by step, will really lead him to discover the history of East of Turkey. The text also combines the mystical-religious elements more practical and concrete than ever, such as the political violence of the “70s, the PKK, the Turkish mafia and the rotten inside the police, all fundamental steps to try to understand this extraordinary country. and which, unfortunately, very often in Italy are completely (and deliberately) ignored due to the too much fascination exerted by contemporaneity. In the background, as always, the city of Istanbul, the silent protagonist of the novel which, immersed in its immense heterogeneity of history and faith, watch the characters unravel mysteries. Highly recommended book, if you loved “A Memento for Istanbul” you can’t miss it in any way; I just tell you that I was able to read 250 pages in one go for so long it bewitched me, something that hasn’t happened for many years now.

“Run away fools!” (spoiler section)

Are you going to read this book and / or are you reading it now? Then escape from this section! I say this for your sake: Kavim is really full of twists and turns and it would be folly to deprive you of the beauty and charm of Nevzat’s discoveries or the thousand twists. If you are reading by mistake, run away to read or buy the book, if you are conscious and want to continue, here are some of my personal opinions.

Ahmet Ümit

Let’s start with the bomb: the ending didn’t make me crazy. For Jannah’s sake, the whole novel is beautiful, but I did not like the fact that, although it is now known to all that the killer is Can, no one has been able to find a real flaw in his plan and therefore have him condemned, so much so that Red Meryem’s men will have to think about killing him with a volley of bullets. I never like this kind of solution because, from my point of view, a parallel element is introduced which in a certain way falsifies and simplifies the development of the facts. Having to make something similar happen, I would have preferred that, to say, the detectives had found a clear and evident proof that was however destroyed, perhaps causing Can some bad luck or at the hands of the spirit of Mor Gabriel or of a Nusayri ready to kill him for his blasphemy. Another small detail that I noticed: as in “A Memento for Istanbul” (which technically came out earlier in its original version), here too one of the killers is a “friend” character of the protagonist and who has appeared since the beginning of the novel. Past experience made me more or less guess from page 200 that Cengiz was the policeman who was so sought after by Malik and Salim / Yusuf; all this, given the unfolding of the book, did not bother me in any way and, on the contrary, it disoriented me a little, making me appreciate the ending even more, I just wanted to say it out of my personal pride. Ah, since we are spoilers in the air and I have already made the biggest ones: the idea that in reality Yusuf’s body was not Yusuf’s but Selim’s I found it brilliant, beautiful and really surprising, is one of those points that make you want to read and understand something more. The novel as a whole would have a very high rating and I really hope that the Altano publishing house will secure the rights to other books as well because I can’t wait to read a new thriller by the extraordinary Ahmet Ümit.

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