The Ottoman dynasties love affair with Constantinople began in 1453, when Mehmet the Conqueror entered the city on a white horse; it ended in 1924, when the last Caliph, Abdulmecid, hurriedly left on the Orient Express. For almost five centuries, therefore, the dramatic and often depraved story of an extraordinary dynastyunfolded in the endlessly intriguing ‘city of the world’s desire’. In his highly acclaimed book, Philip Mansel has produced both a vivid evocation of a vibrantly cosmopolitan capital and an absorbing account of its ruling family.
“Admirable…Mansel is at his best when describing the lives led by those in search of the exotic, lulled to sleep in their embassies or waterside villas by the lapping of the Bophorus and the call to prayer. As a historian of courts, he also captures the spectacle that was the palace, governed by an Ottoman blend of sentiment and cruelty that smelt of blood and tulips.” James Owen in the Literary Review
“Without question one of the finest books ever written by an Englishman on the Turks” William Dalrymple in the Independent
See Cornucopia Issue 9 for an extract from the book.