In Istanbul, in the late 1590s, the Sultan secretly commissions a great book: a celebration of his life and his empire, to be illuminated by the best artists of the day - in the European manner. But when one of the miniaturists goes missing and is feared murdered, their master seeks outside help.
Faber and Faber
Publisher and industry reviews
'Magnificent... In this world of forgeries, where some might be in danger of losing their faith in literature, Pamuk is the real thing, and this book might well be one of the few recent works of fiction that will be remembered at the end of this century.' Observer 'More than any other book I can think of, it captures not just its past and present contradictions, but also its terrible, timeless beauty. It's almost perfect, in other words. All it needs is the Nobel Prize.' New Statesman 'We in the West can only feel gratitude that such a novelist as Pamuk exists, to act as a bridge between our culture and that of a heritage quite as rich as our own.' Daily Telegraph
UK Kirkus review
Istanbul in the late 1590s is a maelstrom of religious tension, provoked by an increasing influx of European ideas, which arrive alongside the fabrics that come on European ships. When the Sultan commissions a book of illustrations to celebrate his achievements, it is created in secret in a miniaturist workshop lest the naturalistic pictures cause uproar. Then Effendi, the workshop's expert gilder, is murdered, and the master of the workshop calls in outside help in the form of Black, who left the city 12 years previously because of his hopeless love for Shekure, the master's daughter. The murder mystery is at the heart of the narrative, but this is far more than a whodunnit. Told by multiple narrators, the story grows slowly out of its rich setting, its themes of love, art and religion unfolding gradually but compellingly. The author uses language to paint pictures as beautiful as those created by his artist characters; and he well deserves his reputation as Turkey's greatest living writer. (Kirkus UK)
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