Wednesday 30 May 2012

Equal of the Sun

Finished May 30
Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani

This is the second novel I've read by this author. The first was The Blood of Flowers. This novel is also set in Iran, but earlier, in the late 1570s. The story revolves around a real Iranian princess, a daughter of the Safavi dynasty, who lived from 1548 to 1578. Pari Khan Khanoom was one of the chief advisers to her father Tahmasb Shah, and groomed to take this role. When her father died suddenly, a suspected poisoning, she worked behind the scenes to keep the government functioning and prepare the way for the next shah.
The story is told by one of her trusted servants, a eunuch named Javaher, who came from noble lineage. Javaher is trying to clear his father's name and restore his family's honour. He is driven by this purpose, as well as strong loyalty to the royal family, especially Pari and her father.
This is a story of political intrigue and maneuvering, based on real historical figures and events. Amirrezvani takes us into this world, using the language of the formal court and palace and the language of more casual and more intimate encounters. She brings to life the complex world of the harem, the roles of women (much more than the stereotypes), and the world of the palace eunuchs. Her characters come alive for the reader, showing passion and human failings.
We see lust for power that doesn't stop at murder, and a sense of the complex relationships that influenced the powerful in this land. A sense of the Machiavelli with the end justifying the means prevails among many, and the need to change alliances quickly is shown.
This book will give you a glimpse into another vanished world.
In a sense this book is like a Philippa Gregory historical novel, but in a different type of country. Equally well-researched, with a reliance on historical fact.

No comments:

Post a Comment