The Sultan's Daughter

Ann Chamberlin, Author
Ann Chamberlin, Author Forge $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-86203-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-8125-5385-7
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The author of Sofia and Tamar takes another journey into the intrigue of the Ottoman Empire. Set in the 1560s in Constantinople, the tale is narrated by a eunuch, Abdullah, a former Venetian sailor now enslaved to Esmikhan, the grand-daughter of Sultan Suleimann. Through Abdullah's eyes, the world of the harem, with all its power struggles, comes alive. Esmikhan is the daughter of Selim, heir to the throne, and wife to Sokolli Pasha, the Grand Vizier and power behind the throne. While Esmikhan tries repeatedly to produce an heir for her own aging husband, a beautiful young harem slave, Safiye Baffo, like Abdullah originally from Venice, schemes to oust the drunkard Selim from the Turkish succession so that the next Sultan will be her lover Murad, Esmikhan's brother. When Suleiman dies, Abdullah cleverly combats Safiye's plot. Presented with an opportunity to escape his slavery, Abdullah chooses instead to save his mistress's life. Despite the slow pace of this story, Abdullah's love for Esmiskhan is genuinely moving, particularly when she forms a liaison outside her barren marriage. Ultimately, however, the rich historical detail is the most galvanizing presence here.(Apr.)
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