Truly magnificent: the splendour of Suleiman I

In this luminous, erudite book, Christopher de Bellaigue tells the story of the early years of Suleiman the Magnificent, the best known and most powerful of the Ottoman sultans.It is far from a standard narrative history. Drawing on sources in English, French, Italian and German, de Bellaigue has written a gripping account that evokes an epic poem, saga or ‘book of kings’ rather than a familiar biographical plod. It is as ‘immersive’ as the blurb claims, conjuring the world of the eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia and south-eastern Europe in the early 16th century with the limpid clarity of the many gems that stud its pages. The maps alone are worth the