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Equal of the Sunby Anita Amirrezvani
Synopses & Reviews
Legendary women — from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots — changed the course of history in the royal courts of sixteenth-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few people know of the powerful women in the Muslim world, who formed alliances, served as key advisers to rulers, lobbied for power on behalf of their sons, and ruled in their own right. In Equal of the Sun, Anita Amirrezvani's gorgeously crafted tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran, she brings one such woman to life, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi.
Iran in 1576 is a place of wealth and dazzling beauty. But when the Shah dies without having named an heir, the court is thrown into tumult. Princess Pari, the Shah's daughter and protégé, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess's maneuvers to instill order after her fathers sudden death incite resentment and dissent. Pari and her closest adviser, Javaher, a eunuch able to navigate the harem as well as the world beyond the palace walls, are in possession of an incredible tapestry of secrets and information that reveals a power struggle of epic proportions.
Based loosely on the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, Equal of the Sun is a riveting story of political intrigue and a moving portrait of the unlikely bond between a princess and a eunuch. Anita Amirrezvani is a master storyteller, and in her lustrous prose this rich and labyrinthine world comes to vivid life with a stunning cast of characters, passionate and brave men and women who defy or embrace their destiny in a Machiavellian game played by those who lust for power and will do anything to attain it.
"Filled with political intrigue, heartbreak, and passion, Amirrezvani's second novel (after The Blood of Flowers) is an intense ride through the fickle regimes of Iranian shahs in the 1500s. Javaher made the unprecedented choice to become a eunuch at age 17 in order to gain access to the harem and uncover the truth behind his father's murder. His plan seems to be working when he becomes a servant of the most powerful woman at court, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi (an historical character upon whose life the story is roughly based), but all goes awry when Pari's father, the shah, dies, and her brother Ismail assumes the throne. Pari tries to temper Ismail Shah's despotic rule, but as a result, her former allies turn against her. Desperate to restore order, the ambitious and reckless princess devises a treasonous plot, and Javaher must decide whether to jeopardize everything to help the woman he's come to admire or to step back as the fabric of his world unravels at the hands of a deranged shah. Saturated with color and emotion, Amirrezvani's newest is a provocative and thrilling historical. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Amirrezvani's sixteenth century Iran is a world as complex as Shakespeare's London, that seethes with intrigue, passion, and lawlessness, a world where a brilliant young princess, who longs for power denied her as a female, and a servant, with a desire so relentless he half-destroys himself, make a desperate pact to control the government and fate of the country, and in doing so discover their greatest loves and sorrows. In this astonishing novel Amirrezvani reminds us what all human hearts suffer and dare. Equal of the Sun, is an irresistible novel." Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife
“A dazzling historical novel of ancient Persia, a fairy tale of universal resonance, Equal of the Sun, is a story of love and ambition, loyalty and intrigue, the eternal anguish of a heart — and a country — at war with itself. Gina Nahai, author of Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith and Caspian Rain
“Equal of the Sun is a page turner, with plenty of gripping moments. Here’s hoping Amirrezvani will write many more tales illuminating the incredible history of the Iranians.” Washington Post
"Expertly woven." Kirkus
“Equal of the Sun is a fine political novel, full of rich detail and intrigue, but it’s also a thought-provoking study of the intersection between gender and power.” Historical Novel Society
About the Author
Anita Amirrezvani is the author of The Blood of Flowers, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and a former staff writer and dance critic for the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times. She is currently an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
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