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The story is told by the eunuch, Javaher, closest advisor to the Princess Pari. Javaher is uniquely positioned to navigate the treacherous political pathways of Iran’s 16th century court intrigue. While her father lives, Pari is in an unusual position of power and influence. After her father’s murder, her influence within the court decreases drastically.
This was an interesting look at historical events and a culture that are completely unknown to me. So, I can’t speak to how much this fiction conforms to fact. As a novel, this book was enjoyable reading. The descriptions were very rich and the action was well plotted. I was drawn into the conspiracy and the trauma of the story. I liked the major characters and I was saddened by the tragic events of the story. Clearly it was as dangerous to be female in the Iranian royal family as it was to be a female relation of 16th century English monarchs.
Simon Vance handles the accents and varied voices with his usual expertise. His performance goes a long way to set the exotic atmosphere of the story.
57 of 57 people found this review helpful
The truths in the political world of the Shah's palace are exposed by the main character of the book, a eunuch and servant to the Shah's favorite daughter and most-trusted advisor, Princess Pari. His power and rank in the court change with the political power structures within the palace. As their influence outside the harem ebbs and flows the true strength of the relationship between Princess Pari and her eunuch is revealed.
This is similar to the author's other book, The Blood of Flowers, in that it is so richly detailed that the picture forms in your mind's eye so clearly and you have no doubt as to what the characters look like, what they are wearing, what they are smelling, and what they are seeing. This book exposes the dangers behind a weak throne, the struggles of women, and the sacrifices one must take to find out the truth. I loved how much poetry was celebrated and arts in all forms such as writing, calligraphy, fabrics, architecture and so on.
The narrator does a good job in telling of the story though some of his female voices sound well awkward but only characters that aren't heard much.
I recommend this book to people who love a good story where they can learn something of the world and really get behind the characters lives' and root for their success in life.
25 of 26 people found this review helpful