A tall, yellow-haired young European traveller calling himself 'Mogor dell'Amore', the Mughal of Love, arrives at the court of the real Grand Mughal, the Emperor Akbar, with a tale to tell that begins to obsess the whole imperial capital. The stranger claims to be the child of a lost Mughal princess, the youngest sister of Akbar's grandfather Babar: Qara Koz, 'Lady Black Eyes', a great beauty believed to possess powers of enchantment and sorcery, who is taken captive first by an Uzbek warlord, then by the Shah of Persia, and finally becomes the lover of a certain Argalia, a Florentine soldier of fortune, commander of the armies of the Ottoman Sultan. When Argalia returns home with his Mughal mistress the city is mesmerized by her presence, and much trouble ensues. The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a woman attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world.It brings together two cities that barely know each other - the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire and the treachery of sons, and the equally sensual Florentine world of powerful courtesans, humanist philosophy and inhuman torture, where Argalia's boyhood friend "il Machia" - Niccolo Machiavelli - is learning, the hard way, about the true brutality of power.
These two worlds, so far apart, turn out to be uncannily alike, and the enchantments of women hold sway over them both. But is Mogor's story true? And if so, then what happened to the lost princess? And if he's a liar, must he die?
Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, one collection of short stories, and four works of non-fiction, and the co-editor of The Vintage Book of Indian Writing. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the Booker of Bookers, the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. The Moor's Last Sigh won the Whitbread Prize in 1995 and the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature in 1996. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.