Iran in 1576 is a place of peace, wealth, and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah's daughter and closest adviser, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess's maneuvers to instill order after her father's sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her trusted servant, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, are in possession of an incredible tapestry of secrets and information that reveals a power struggle of epic proportions.
Based loosely on the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, Equal of the Sun is a riveting story of political intrigue and a moving portrait of an unlikely friendship between a princess and a eunuch. Anita Amirrezvani is a master storyteller, and in her lustrous prose this rich and labyrinthine world comes to vivid life with a stunning cast of characters, passionate and brave men and women who defy or embrace their destiny in a Machiavellian game played by those who lust for power and will do anything to attain it.
©2012 Anita Amirrezvani (P)2012 Tantor
"A dazzling historical novel of ancient Persia, a fairy tale of universal resonance." (Gina Nahai, author of Caspian Rain)
The truths in the political world of the Shah's palace are exposed by the main character of the book, a eunuch and servant to the Shah's favorite daughter and most-trusted advisor, Princess Pari. His power and rank in the court change with the political power structures within the palace. As their influence outside the harem ebbs and flows the true strength of the relationship between Princess Pari and her eunuch is revealed.
This is similar to the author's other book, The Blood of Flowers, in that it is so richly detailed that the picture forms in your mind's eye so clearly and you have no doubt as to what the characters look like, what they are wearing, what they are smelling, and what they are seeing. This book exposes the dangers behind a weak throne, the struggles of women, and the sacrifices one must take to find out the truth. I loved how much poetry was celebrated and arts in all forms such as writing, calligraphy, fabrics, architecture and so on.
The narrator does a good job in telling of the story though some of his female voices sound well awkward but only characters that aren't heard much.
I recommend this book to people who love a good story where they can learn something of the world and really get behind the characters lives' and root for their success in life.
I'm halfway through and . . .in a sort of audio equivalent of "I can't put it down!" well, "I can't take it out of my ears!" Usually I listen to novels while working out or on long drives, but this one has me plugging in even on the shortest of trips. Tonight I even walked into my house and started making dinner with the earplugs in . . . a first!
Vivid, sympathetic, authoritative writing, quite amazing in its detail of another time and place. The themes of altruism, yearning, revenge, duty and, of course, love reverberate. The characters are intriguing and often unpredictable.
Great work, Anita Amirrezvani!
The story is told by the eunuch, Javaher, closest advisor to the Princess Pari. Javaher is uniquely positioned to navigate the treacherous political pathways of Iran’s 16th century court intrigue. While her father lives, Pari is in an unusual position of power and influence. After her father’s murder, her influence within the court decreases drastically.
This was an interesting look at historical events and a culture that are completely unknown to me. So, I can’t speak to how much this fiction conforms to fact. As a novel, this book was enjoyable reading. The descriptions were very rich and the action was well plotted. I was drawn into the conspiracy and the trauma of the story. I liked the major characters and I was saddened by the tragic events of the story. Clearly it was as dangerous to be female in the Iranian royal family as it was to be a female relation of 16th century English monarchs.
Simon Vance handles the accents and varied voices with his usual expertise. His performance goes a long way to set the exotic atmosphere of the story.
1576 is the year. Historical fiction is the genre. We are not in England, we are in Iran! The terrain may be different but how different is the roll of royal women, of politics, of danger to life, and court intrigue? That was what I discovered while listening to the Audible.com version.
O, it's through the eyes of a eunuch. I knew nothing more than the obvious about eunuchs so this very enlighting.
I would recommend this book to those who love historical fiction; are familiar with the European timeline but not in another part of the world. It may be a bit harder a read or listen because it is so unfamiliar but at the end, well worth the time and effort.
Up near the top. I loved the story and leaning about the culture and politics of Iranian court in the early 1700.
The vivid description of the surroundings, people and situations which allowed me to almost be there in my mind as I listened to the story. Learning about the culture.
His nice steady voice which made it a pleasure to listen to
Humanitarian Aid Worker living in Central Asia.
The story was rather blah, but I enjoyed the period detail and information about a culture and time that I did not know much about. I enjoyed this author's other book set in Persia better.
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