From the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul, a colorful, magical tale set during the height of the Ottoman Empire. In her latest novel, Turkey's preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1540, 12-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultan's menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and befriends (and falls for) the sultan's beautiful daughter Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empire's chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chota's help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they build Sinan's triumphant masterpieces - the incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosques - dangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among Sinan's four apprentices.
A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafak's intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power.
©2015 Elif Shafak (P)2015 Recorded Books
This book takes on a fascinating period and geographical area about which I knew very little. And my feelings about the book are mixed. I am writing this review a few weeks after finishing the book. Many scenes are still gripping, and the sense of learning about a new world still strong. But I simply didn't fall enough in love with the characters. And the solution to the ongoing mystery-which I will of course not ruin for you--simply fell short. I didn't believe the motivations provided.
A beautiful tale that made me both laugh and cry. this is one of those stories then I believe help you grow a little and you can reflect on later in life.
I love this book so much! Historical fiction at its finest. Reminded me of Pamuk's "My Name is Red" - but gentler and more rambling. Wonderfully immersive with descriptions of food, clothing, real events and people and a glimpse into an architecture guild during one of the greatest times for art and science in human history.
fascinating tale unfolds
Master Sinan and Chota - a toss up.
Why on earth didn't he get on the boat and go to Spain - seriously!
Perhaps one too many plot twists and turns. Hard to believe one guy could have that much bad luck. Interesting historical information.
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