The Reign of the Favored Women

Ann Chamberlin, Author Forge $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-86592-4
A complex historical tale of two formidable women, related by one of the eunuchs who guard them, the third novel in Chamberlin's trilogy of 16th- and 17th-century Turkey (after Sofia and The Sultan's Daughter) concerns the seraglio machinations and murderous pillow-talk that decide who will inherit the Ottoman throne. Brought as a slave to Constantinople, Safiye climbs to power when she becomes the lover of Sultan Murad, who is an heir to the throne, and the mother of his only son, Muhammed, whom she is determined will someday rule the empire. The most powerful of her many enemies is Murad's cruel, vindictive mother, Nur Banu, imperial head of the harem, ""whose very curves had been the route to power."" Added to the mix are Mitra, Muhammed's poetry-writing concubine, who dreams of escaping to Persia with her children and eschews the intrigues of harem life. Then there is Esmikhan, a half-sister to Murad whose daughter could force Safiye to share power if she marries Muhammed. In addition to conveying such intrigue with skill, Chamberlin provides a cast of characters and a glossary to guide readers through this elaborate, lush historical fiction. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 480 pages - 978-0-7653-4297-3
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