A Tudor Turk by Rehan Khan (Book #1)
Series : The Chronicles of Will Ryde & Awa Maryam Al-Jameel
Publication Date : February 21st 2019
Publisher : Hope Road
Read Date : March 3rd 2019
Genre : Historical Fiction / Adventure
Stars : 5/5
Istanbul, 1591 – and Sultan Murad III, the mightiest ruler in the world, has been robbed. The Staff of Moses has been stolen from his private collection of religious artefacts in the Topkapi Palace – right from under his imperial nose! The wooden Staff, held by Moses as he parted the Red Sea, is a magical symbol of power worth a kings ransom – and the furious Sultan wants it back.
A small undercover unit of hand-picked, trusted warriors is hastily assembled to track down the thieves. They are the Rüzgar the Wind and like the wind, they travel silently and unseen. Awa, the studious daughter of a noble family from the Songhai Empire in West Africa, was kidnapped and enslaved by Moroccans after the disastrous Battle of Tondibi. Awa is a whirling and deadly force when she has a scimitar in her hand. Will, who was snatched from his home in London at the age of 5, is now 16 and a galley slave on board a Moroccan warship. Joining the Rüzgar turns him into a man. He and Awa become fast friends. The other comrades are Turkish, Greek and Albanian, all led by the charismatic Bosnian Mehmed Konjic, a wise counsellor and natural hero.
A Tudor Turk was historical fiction written in year 1591 that revolved around two main characters Will Ryde and Awa Maryam Al-Jameel, Ottoman empire, civilization and religious belief in 16th century, game of power and politics, and ethics and moral. It was about friendship, hardship of life, bravery, right vs wrong, adapting different perspective culture and people.
Will was 16-years-old British born galley slave who was by his good luck appointed as member of Janissary serving the crown of Istanbul. He was fine swordsman. He never got a chance to get educated but his moral and ethics were higher than any educated person. His heart was on right place and had stronger will. I loved how he acted as per situation, helped Awa and other characters when he could get the staff leaving them behind. He was character with conscience and I liked how made decisions based on what he felt right.
Awa was educated, empathetic, religious person, and fierce and natural warrior. Her life turned 360 degree when Songhai lost battle against Moroccans and she was captured as a slave. Maintaining dignity as slave was hardest thing but her skill and talent kept her safe and helped her escape. She saw nothing outside homeland, traveling world seeing different people and religion changed her entirely. She turned better and tougher person by the end.
All secondary characters were amazing specially Rüzgar team. Book had multicultural diverse characters. The team included Greek, Turks, Bosnian, and British all talented and skilled yet there wasn’t any religious differences among them.
I honestly was interested in this book because of magical artefact mentioned in blurb. I didn’t expect it to be such brilliant book filled with historical aspects and full of adventure. As I read more I could see how fitting the title was. The writing was rich and exquisite that brought the adventure and voyage of Will and struggle and bravery of Awa alive. Author wrote story with flawless description and depth.
Book was third person narrative switched from perspective of Will and Awa. It started with intriguing tense situation of Will and Awa; back story of Will, how his life changed in just few time and he turned from galley slave to member of Rüzgar unit within the Janissary; and how Awa, noble woman of Songhai ended up slave of Moroccans.
Within few chapters I had so many questions- how Awa will escape from slavery, can she ever get away from her nasty and deadly captors, what will Will decide at the end- will he stay loyal to Jannisaries whom he found akin to family or will betray them on his first chance to escape to London, how Awa and Will’s path will cross, will their dream to go back to their homeland come true?
Things started to get real interesting when one of the treasure was stolen from the Topkai palace, a magical religious artefact, staff of Moses. A small team of Rüzgar, including Will, carried mission of retrieving the staff and so the chase began which took them from Istanbul to Alexandria, Venice, Leeds Castle in Kent, and London. When Will and Awa’s path crossed it was a scene worth reading. All small and big battles were thrilling and adrenaline inducing.
The comradeship between Rüzgar was stronger than any blood relation. I enjoyed conversation in team and how they executed their plan. I felt for Awa, Will and his team. Their emotions were heartfelt. After all Awa gone through, she found trust and peace among Rüzgars. I’m eager to find out how relationship between Awa, Will and Gurkan was going to develop in next book in the series.
I loved how character learned and developed during their quest. They learned to live in dire and fatal condition, found companionship among the team akin to family, how travelling expended their perspective and made them adept different culture and religion. Insights on moral and ethics were mesmerizing to read.
What I liked most was– the story covered historical aspect of 16th century. It was amazing to read Tondibi battle, fall of Songhai Empire, Queen Elizabeth wanting to build a good relationship with Ottoman Empire, Rialto Bridge in Venice, even Shakespeare gets a place in the book. The cultural and political issues, trade routes and war techniques, slavery and entertainments, religious beliefs and prejudice of the era was beautifully written including marvels of Istanbul and streets of London.
Climax was surprising and unexpected. It was sad tragic and made situation for Will and his team tough. But the way they handled it, kept looking for staff was great. So many things happened between climax and the end but didn’t feel rushed. End was good and I liked that surprise, a hint for the next book in series. I would love to continue series.
Overall, it was adventurous, adrenaline inducing, multicultural historical fiction. I surely recommend this book.
REHAN KHAN is an avid observer of history and has always been intrigued by how ideas and information move from one civilisation to the next; how nations and tribes have prospered from the efforts of their predecessors. Throughout his travels, he is constantly fascinated by the narratives, legends and chronicles which unite cultures as opposed to shattering them into a thousand pieces. When not writing, Rehan works in the telecoms sector and is a visiting professor at an international business school. Born in London, he now lives in Dubai with his family.
Purchase Link : Amazon.in (affiliated)
*** Note: Many thanks to publisher for providing e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. ***
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