Each morning in the hour before dawn, a silent boat launches on the Bosphorous, moving swiftly into the deepest part of the waters halfway between Europe and Asia, where a man will die? In a gender reversal of Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights: Tales from a 1,001 Nights, Ottoman princess Esma Sultan seduces a different Christian lover each night, only to have him drowned in the morning. The Sultaness's true passion burns only for the Christian-born soldier charged with carrying out her brutal nightly death sentence: her drowning guard, Ivan Postivich. The Drowning Guard explores the riddle of Esma ? who is at once a murderer and a champion and liberator of women ? and the man who loves her in spite of her horrifying crimes. This textured historical novel, set in the opulence and squalor of Istanbul in 1826, is woven with the complexity and consequences of love.