The Lion House

The Lion House

The Coming of A King

Summary

Venice, 1522. Intelligence arrives from the east confirming Europe's greatest fear: the vastly rich Ottoman Sultan has all he needs to wage total war - and his sights are set on Rome. With Christendom divided, Suleyman the Magnificent has his hand on its throat.

From the palaces of Istanbul to the blood-soaked fields of central Europe and the scorched coasts of north Africa, The Lion House pioneers a bold new style of eye-witness history to tell a true story of power at its most glittering, personal and perilous: Suleyman's rise to become the most feared and powerful man of the sixteenth century.

It is a journey built on brutal choices and intimate relationships - with the Greek slave who becomes his closest friend, the Venetian plutocrat who sells him gems and wins him allies, the Russian consort who steals his heart. Within a decade, Suleyman has mastery over millions of souls, from Baghdad to the walls of Vienna, while his pirate admiral Barbarossa dominates the Mediterranean. And yet the real drama takes place in small rooms and whispered conversations: as the Sultan exchanges love letters with his own vizier; as he awakes in terror after dreaming of his own assassination.

The Lion House is not just the story of two civilisations in an existential duel and of one of the most consequential lives in world history. It is a tale of the timeless pull of power, dangerous to live with, deadly to live without.

Reviews

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

About the author

Christopher de Bellaigue

Christopher de Bellaigue is the award-winning author of five books, including The Islamic Enlightenment, which was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction and the Orwell Prize for Political Writing in 2017.

As a reporter in the 1990s and 2000s, he covered the politics and invasions that shaped Turkey, the Middle East and South Asia for, among others, the Economist, Guardian and New York Review of Books. He has also made television and radio programmes and has lectured at universities and in boardrooms around the world.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more