Equal of the Sun
Hardcover, 448 pages, $26
Legendary women -- from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots -- changed the course of history in the royal courts of 16th-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few 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. Equal of the Sun, a novel by Anita Amirrezvani (Writing faculty) is a tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran.
Her protagonist is 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, knows more about the inner workings of the state than almost anyone, but the princess’s maneuvers to instill order after her father’s 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.