On her arrival in the harem, lovely Roxelana, the Russian girl, is nicknamed 'Hurrem', the Laughing One. Her sharp wit soon disturbs the habitual calm of the Palace and Suleyman the Magnificent is besotted. Within a year she's given him a son - and persuaded him to marry off all the prettiest women of the harem. It isn't fair to keep them since now he sleeps only with her. Then, in the 1540s, a fire destroys the old harem. While building work is in progress, Roxelana moves into new rooms right next door to Suleyman's apartments. She has a private door cut between them. Now she can watch the Divan, the royal council, through a latticed window. The Sultanate of Women has begun...This is the story of Turkey for those who want to be well informed but don't want to take very long over it. It can be read in about four hours. It's more complete than the brief histories at the front of most popular guide books but shorter than other standard histories. We give a basic outline of the history, told as an easy-to-read narrative, and we include cartoons, maps and tips on where to go.
You won't find loads of names and dates but there's a simple chronology at the back and a list of rulers as well as a very thorough index.
Bob Fowke has written over sixty books on history and science, mainly published by Hodder Headline, Cassell, Collins and OUP. He has travelled widely in Turkey.