Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of The Bastard of Istanbul, a colorful, magical tale set during the height of the Ottoman Empire
In her latest novel, Turkeys preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spanning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire. In 1540, twelve-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultans menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and
befriends (and falls for) the sultans beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empires chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chotas help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history. Yet even as they
build Sinans triumphant masterpiecesthe incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosquesdangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among
Sinans four apprentices.
A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafaks intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power.
Praise from England for The Architects Apprentice
by Elif Shafak
“Architecture is a powerful motif in Elif Shafaks intricate, multilayered new novel, which excels both in its resplendent details and grand design. . .This edifying, emotionally forceful novel shows how hate and envy destroy, and how love might build the world anew.”—The Observer
“Shafaks novel is a vigorous evocation of the Ottoman empire at the height of its power. . .a fascinating work in which building a fulfilling life can be as difficult as creating one of Sinans masterpieces.”—The Sunday Times
“At once epic and comic, fantastical and realistic. . .like all good stories, it conveys deeper meanings about human experience. . .The Architects Apprentice explores issues of power and bigotry, creativity and freedom, but is overarching theme is love. . .a carefully crafted work of imagination that both reveals and conceals its skill. It will confirm Shafaks reputation as a writer of impressive range, who quietly resists categorization and is not afraid to ask the big questions.”—Financial Times
“This is Shafaks most ambitious novel yet, and it is her best - told with a generous humanity that will surely realign attitudes both to the imaginative possibilities of fiction and to the constructed reality of the world around us.”—The Independent
“Shafak paints a gorgeous picture of a city teeming with secrets, intrigue, and romance.”—The Daily Times
About the Author
Elif Shafak is the most widely read female writer in Turkey. Her books include the novels The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love and the memoir Black Milk. She lives in London and Istanbul.