Istanbul in the late 1590s is a maelstrom of religious tension,
provoked by an increasing influx of European ideas, which arrive
alongside the fabrics that come on European ships. When the Sultan
commissions a book of illustrations to celebrate his achievements,
it is created in secret in a miniaturist workshop lest the
naturalistic pictures cause uproar. Then Effendi, the workshop's
expert gilder, is murdered, and the master of the workshop calls in
outside help in the form of Black, who left the city 12 years
previously because of his hopeless love for Shekure, the master's
daughter. The murder mystery is at the heart of the narrative, but
this is far more than a whodunnit. Told by multiple narrators, the
story grows slowly out of its rich setting, its themes of love, art
and religion unfolding gradually but compellingly. The author uses
language to paint pictures as beautiful as those created by his
artist characters; and he well deserves his reputation as Turkey's
greatest living writer. (Kirkus UK)
In the late 1590s, the Turkish Sultan secretly commissions an
illuminated book: a celebration of his life and his empire. At a
time of violent fundamentalism, however, this is a dangerous
proposition. Then one of the miniaturists is murdered. The Sultan
demands an answer within three days.
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