Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Anita Amirrezvani

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Anita Amirrezvani is the author of  The Blood of Flowers, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, and a former staff writer and dance critic for the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times. She is currently an adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Scribner. 464 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Equal of the Sun

Kirkus Reviews

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Pari, marginalized by Isma‘il’s tyrannical behavior and overall sexism in the court, begins a scheme to end his reign, with Javaher serving as assistant, sounding board and spy.

Jun 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Equal of the Sun: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Filled with political intrigue, heartbreak, and passion, Amirrezvani's second novel (after The Blood of Flowers) is an intense ride through the fickle regimes of Iranian shahs in the 1500s.

Jul 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Equal of the Sun: A Novel

Open Letters Monthly

The old shah dies without explicitly naming an heir, and although the complicated apparatus of the state shudders, it doesn’t collapse – largely because the country’s council of noblemen somewhat reluctantly concede the the shah’s daughter Pari Khan Kanoom is as forceful and capable as any male m...

Mar 11 2013 | Read Full Review of Equal of the Sun: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

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.

Jun 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Equal of the Sun: A Novel

TCPalm / AP

Amirrezvani's new book, "Equal of the Sun," takes place in 16th-century Iran, and is told through the eyes of a eunuch who serves one of the most famous women of that era, Princess Pari Khan Khanum.

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Equal of the Sun: A Novel

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