The Aviary Gate

The Aviary Gate

3.48 (1,549 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

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Description

Elizabeth Stavely sits in the Bodleian library with trembling hands. Before her is a fragment of parchment which has about it a dusty fragrance of roses, of sadness and great age. Here is the clue she has been looking for, to a story that has been untold for four hundred years. It is as though a voice is whispering softly to her across the centuries. Constantinople, 1599: merchants from all over Europe are vying with each other to gain trading rights in the Ottoman empire. Paul Pindar, a wealthy merchant, has been entrusted with the mission to deliver an extraordinary musical clock to the Sultan. But a disaster has befallen it on its journey from England, and the organ-maker Thomas Dallam must attempt to repair the effects of the seawater on the precious artifact. Pindar is troubled too by a secret sadness: the woman he once loved is now lost to him, drowned in a shipwreck. But there have been rumours of a new young slave with golden hair and skin like milk, sighted behind the gates of the Sultan's harem. Could this be his Celia? Deep inside the most private quarters of the Sultan's palace, a different drama unfolds: Hassan Aga, the Chief Black Eunuch, lies spreadeagled and helpless, his life slowly ebbing away. Beside him is an intricate ship made of spun sugar, perhaps carrying the poison that is about to take his life. A veiled figure stands over him, and as she moves away the light catches the huge emerald on her finger, causing it to glow like a cat's eye. The Aviary Gate is a tale of ancient alliances and intrigues, of forbidden love and dangerous secrets. Lush, magical and utterly absorbing, it is a masterful novel from one of our most acclaimed authors.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 158 x 234 x 34mm | 598.74g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0747580383
  • 9780747580386
  • 1,534,054

About Katie Hickman

Katie Hickman is the author of five previous books, including two best-selling history books, Courtesans and Daughters of Britannia. She has written two travel books: Travels with a Circus, which was shortlisted for the 1993 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and Dreams of the Peaceful Dragon. She is the author of one previous novel, The Quetzal Summer, for which she was listed for the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year award. Katie Hickman lives in London with her two children and her husband, the philosopher A.C.Grayling.show more

Review quote

'A hugely enjoyable novel, multi-layered, vividly depicted and a fascinating story, filled with the colours, sights and scents of Constantinople in the 16th century. This story is at the same time fast moving, complex and deeply satisfying!' Joanne Harris 'The Aviary Gate reminds us of the fact that Katie Hickman is first and foremost a vibrant story-teller who writes mainly because of the pure joy of weaving stories, be they historical or as in this case fictional accounts. And for that, I am very grateful to her.' Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran Praise for DAUGHTERS OF BRITANNIA: 'This is a lovely book: affectionate, celebratory, and as conscious of the glory as the hardship.' Libby Purves 'This is a delightful and exceptionally well-written book, funny, lively and warm-hearted.' Daily Telegraphshow more

Rating details

1,549 ratings
3.48 out of 5 stars
5 16% (255)
4 34% (527)
3 34% (529)
2 12% (184)
1 3% (54)
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