Legendary women - from Anne Boleyn to Queen Elizabeth I to Mary, Queen of Scots - changed the course of history in the royal courts of sixteenth-century England. They are celebrated in history books and novels, but few people 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. In Equal of the Sun, Anita Amirrezvani's gorgeously crafted tale of power, loyalty, and love in the royal court of Iran, she brings one such woman to life, 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 and protégé, 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.
Based loosely on the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, Equal of the Sun is a riveting story of political intrigue and a moving portrait of the unlikely bond between a princess and a eunuch. Anita Amirrezvani is a master storyteller, and in her lustrous prose this rich and labyrinthine world comes to vivid life with a stunning cast of characters, passionate and brave men and women who defy or embrace their destiny in a Machiavellian game played by those who lust for power and will do anything to attain it.
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"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
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Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in San Francisco. For ten years, she was a dance critic for newspapers in the Bay Area. She has received fellowships from the National Arts Journalism Program, the NEA's Arts Journalism Institute for Dance, and the Hedgebrook Foundation for Women Writers.
Anita Amirrezvani: a-NEE-tah ah-mir-rez-wani
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