"Once you read Colin Falconer, you'll want toread everything he has ever written ..." - Crystal Book Reviews
"Falconer's grasp of period and placesis almost flawless ... He's my kind of writer." - Peter Corris, TheAustralian
'If you haven't read one of Colin Falconer's novels, then I promise you are infor a real roller-coaster ride of never ending intrigue ...' - History and Women
'Each chapter ends with a gripping cliff-hanger that makes the bookirresistible and unputdownable." - Mirella Patzer, Historical Novel Review
"I enjoyed his storytelling voice so much that, had this book been say,set in modern times, the intriguing main characters would still have been ableto pull it off.' - Bookbag
"... Falconer demonstrates exceptional characterization ...' Bookgeeks
'... provides action, romance, and beautifully descriptive writing by thecartload." - Des Greene, Novel Suggestions
'... living history at its best, fictionalized yet immensely believable.' AlanGold, Good Reading.
"Beautifully written in typical Falconer style with plenty of snap andsharpness, and wonderfully researched, I enjoyed every page of this book."- Great Historicals
"Falconer's descriptive narrative is exquisite at times. Each short chapteropens with a flowing brush of words that paint precisely, yet mellifluously, ina manner that is almost poetic." - Historical Writers Association
"It is the richness of the prose itself that truly madethis historical era come alive." -Historical Novel Review
"A page-turner . . . " - Booklist
". . . plausible and engrossing." -Woman's Day
"... moves alongat a cracking pace, the narrative fraught with action and tension at everyturn." - HistoricalNovel Society
"Fast paced,sprinkled with unique and unusual details, and with plenty of emotion, makesthis a must read for those who love the medieval period or books about theunexplained mysteries of life." - History and Women
"Colin Falconer is one of thosehistorical fiction authors that takes a subject and not only researches itthoroughly but also has the talent to take you to the heart of the matterwhilst making you feel that you're seeing history being made at the time of theevents ... Add to this top notch prose a wonderfully almost cinematic feel to thestory and of course a lead character that you can really get behind and all init's a wonderful read. Great stuff." - Dros Delnoch, Falcatta Times
From the Author
But when I came to do my research I got quite a surprise. A harem, I have to tell you, reads better than it lives. I wrote my piece to please the Playboy readers but held back the real research for myself.
Victorian paintings depict dream-like canvases of half-naked young women soaping each other in what look like Asiatic day spas.
In reality the old harem of Suleiman's time was a grim and twilight maze of dark-paneled rooms where the sun seldom penetrated. It was a snake pit; imagine, if you will, a cross between a Miss World contest and a reality show, where the winner becomes an Empress and the other three finalists are drowned in a sack. Oh, and all the runners-up never ever get to leave the house.
Which leads us to the story of Suleiman the Magnificent and Roxelana. Her influence over him from moment she replaced his long term favourite, Gulbehar, was pervasive.
She knew that his throne would pass to the oldest male heir,and the Osmanli Code of Laws allowed the Sultan elect to execute all his brothers to secure it. In other words she realized that she, and all her children, were just a heartbeat away from catastrophe every single day.
Then three things happened that historians cannot rationally explain. First, the harem conveniently burned down, which meant that Roxelana and her entire entourage had to move into Suleiman's palace, until a new harem could be built. But it never was rebuilt, and Roxelana stayed right where she was.
The second occurrence was no coincidence; it was, quite simply, astonishing. The Sultan married her. A Sultan had not taken a queen since the Ottomans lived as nomads on the plains. Then, to compound the amazement of all Stamboul, he resigned his entire harem.
To this point it reads like a Hollywood screenplay; a powerful and potent man giving up everything for the woman he loves. Pretty Woman with sherbets and turbans. But Roxelana could well have had another agenda entirely ...