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  • History at its most gripping ... This vivid study of Suleyman the Magnificent is as enthralling as fiction

    The Sunday Times
  • History at its most gripping

    Daily Telegraph
  • An urgent, immersive, present-tense gallop ... the book reads as a non-fiction novel ... cinematically vivid tableaux ... Each spangled scene ... rests on a solid foundation in the primary sources ... De Bellaigue enriches his storytelling with the colourful, meticulous dispatches of its traders, envoys and spies ... behind the bejewelled descriptive prose a thumping pulse of action tugs us through ... de Bellaigue's glittering, deft and often witty prose adds pleasure to each page

    Financial Times
  • Luminous, erudite ... a gripping account that evokes an epic poem, saga or 'book of kings' ... It is as immersive as the blurb claims, conjuring the world of the eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia and south-eastern Europe in the early 16th century with the limpid clarity of the many gems that stud its pages ... Even more than the detail, it is the characters that intrigue and often inspire ... The book leaves the reader with Suleiman truly magnificent

  • Those lucky readers who come to Christopher de Bellaigue's book in proximity to reading Mantel can suddenly have a new panel thrown open to them like an unfolding altarpiece ... all written in the present tense. This creates the obvious sense of liveliness and urgency ... Bellaigue sets about the task with such confidence and skill that it works ... a dazzling and dark work. Witty and often wise, it speaks to the frailties and the precarity of power

    David Aaronovitch, The Times
  • Vivid and compelling

  • There are books that enlarge the mind, there are books that enrich the soul, but rarely comes a book so beautifully-written and profound that it manages to do both

    ELIF SHAFAK, author of The Island of Missing Trees
  • Christopher de Bellaigue has a magic talent for writing history It is as if we are there as the era of Suleyman the Magnificent unfolds

    ORHAN PAMUK, Nobel Laureate in Literature
  • Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand political ambition and the role of narcissistic leaders and scheming courtiers in any age

    ROBERT PESTON, Political Editor ITV News
  • De Bellaigue is a riveting and expert guide to the story of Suleyman's quest for power

    PETER FRANKOPAN, author of The Silk Roads

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