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Equal of the Sun: A Novel Hardcover – June 5, 2012

40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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..” —WashingtonPost

"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

"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

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451660464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451660463
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anita Amirrezvani is the author of the novels Equal of the Sun (June, 2012) and The Blood of Flowers (2007). The Historical Novel Society has called Equal of the Sun "a fine political novel, full of rich detail and intrigue, but ... also a thought-provoking study of the intersection between gender and power." USA Today has described The Blood of Flowers as "filled with intricate designs, vivid colors, and sparkling gems;" it has appeared in more than 25 languages and was long-listed for the 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction. Anita is currently an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and at Sonoma State University. More information is available at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Smiley on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up this book after enjoying Amirrezvani's first novel, The Blood of Flowers. This one turns from the lives of regular people to those of royalty, which tend to interest me less (weird, I know), but still proves to be a compelling read.

This is the story of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom Safavi, told through the eyes of Javaher, a eunuch in her service. Pari has long been an adviser to her father, the Shah, and when he dies, she's neck-deep in intrigue: trying to put the brother she prefers on the throne, but more fundamentally, trying to rule Iran herself. Meanwhile, she and Javaher come to trust and respect one another, and Javaher searches for the man who murdered his father many years before. As a eunuch, Javaher has access to both the harem and the outside world, giving readers a full picture of the times.

I wasn't sure about the characters at first, but Amirrezvani does a good job with the two principals. Books about female historical figures have a tendency both to whitewash them to the point of bland sainthood and to "feminize" them by focusing on their insecurities and their love lives, and I was glad to see nothing like that here. Pari is arrogant, ambitious, and focused; she seems entirely capable of running a government, but is also far from perfect. She's a product of her culture but has learned to work around it, for instance, by holding political meetings from behind a lattice (so unrelated males won't see her). Meanwhile, Javaher also turns out to be an interesting character; you don't see many fictional eunuchs in lead roles, and his relationships with women are unusual and add an extra layer to the story.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By VoraciousReader on June 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The other reviews do a very nice job of summarizing the plot, so I don't need to do that. I just want to say that before I bought this book I wish I had know this: this book isn't anything like the author's first book, The Blood of Flowers. In TBoF, the characters are developed first and the story and history became part of each character. I felt like I was with the main character (I'm sorry but her name escapes me just now) during all of her trials and I was happy for her successes; that is the mark of a very good book. So I was excited to learn the same author had written another book. I didn't care what the subject was because she made the characters come alive in TBoF and I was willing to read anything else she wrote.


In Equal of The Sun, the history comes first and the characters are created to prop up the history. Many characters are introduced in the first few pages,and all of them seem wooden. I didn't have a connection with any of them. And I really wanted to. That's why I say EoTS is disappointing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Woodland on June 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is loosely based on the history of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom a woman of strength and intelligence but a woman and therefore ineligible to rule when her father dies suddenly without leaving an heir. In the fascinating tale woven by Ms. Amirrezvani Princess Pari is presented as woman favored by her father and taught all that is necessary to rule a great country.

This is as much the tale of the fictional eunuch Javaher as it is Pari's. Javaher's father was murdered by a high ranking courtier and he made the decision at 17 to become a eunuch so he could enter the service of the Shah and try and find who killed his father and avenge his death. Little did he know that forces beyond his control were working with AND against him to help him achieve his goals. Pari and Javaher make a strong team as they work to bring order from chaos.

I truly enjoyed this book and read it over the course of one long sitting. I found myself enthralled with the setting, the characters and the story. So many women have been lost to history and while this is fiction it is interesting to learn more about different cultures and the woman that live in them through good story telling. Woman were not allowed to rule in Pari's time and what a loss they suffered for it seems she might have been one of Iran's brightest stars.
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Format: Paperback
"Equal of the Sun" by Anita Amirrezvani is detailed history novel that takes place in 16th century Iran.

One of the two main characters is Javaher, a eunuch who at the novel beginning start serving as vizier for one of the Shah's daughters, Princess Pari Khan Khanoom who is smart and passionate woman, although without any particular impact on court.
Princess Pari Khan Khanoom is Shah's favorite daughter and therefore together with Javaher has almost unlimited access to all the people that surround Shah.
Also the reader will learn that Javaher is carrying embarrassing mark, he is a son of the man who was declared a traitor.
Everything will change when suddenly the Shah will die without declaring who will be his heir, and both Javaher and Princess Pari will find themselves in danger, to be seen as a threat...

For reader from the Western hemisphere it would be a bit difficult to get familiar with all strange names that are introduced from the author without much preamble.
So the reader will be thrown into rich world of Iranian dynasties, factions, characters and events that for most of us will be heard for the first time. The author tried to introduce the reader to all these information right at the novel beginning, so the reader's patience will be required before the real story starts unfolding.

And although in the beginning so much historical details and description can be found, in the rest of the novel author will put accent to dialogues through what reader will learn more about characters than from her/his description. When there are some longer scene descriptions, it seems like the author doesn't entirely succeed to convey in words what the reader's eye should see.
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