This is a book that lives in two parts – one set in the Ottoman empire of the 16th century, and the other in our own 21st century reality. Here we have the story of two friends, both taken as children from their homes and inducted into the Turkish Sultan’s private guard: Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, the Serbian shepherd boy who rose to the position of Grand Vizier and Koca Mimar Sinan, the ‘Michelangelo of the East’. Between them they represent both destruction and creation, while at the same time providing us with a harrowing insight into the heart of religion and identity. Back in our own time, we hear the voice of the author, sharing with us his experiences in the modern world, and his musings on faith, identity and nation. This is a truly ambitious book that rewards the reader with insights into some of the great questions of our time.
''One of the most ambitious novels of our time.''
Goffredo Fofi, Internationale
''…excitement and tension throughout. I loved the book.''
John Ralston Saul, President of PEN International
“..An historical novel, philosophical diary, and a work of Zen: a superb exercise in modesty…”
— Fabio de Propris, Il Manifesto
“A work of stunning intellectual, structural and narrative complexity, written in clear, engaging and witty prose.”
— Drew Adamek, Valley Advocate
"With evocative descriptions of life in the twin cities of the Ottoman Empire, Bajac conjures images and situations that encourage readers to question and consider human values and relations. Fans of Orhan Pamuk should appreciate this novel, while those wishing to indulge in an originally crafted historical tale with modern resonance should be rewarded with an original and stimulating read."
Marcus Agar, W!ldRooster
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