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The Sultan's Wife Paperback – 3 May 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670918008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670918003
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.7 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 600,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Come find me on Twitter @JaneJohnsonBakr and on Facebook at Jane Johnson (Writer)

My website is www.janejohnsonbooks.com and there you can find an email contact form: do write - I love to hear from my readers and always reply!

I update and blog regularly about writing, publishing and cooking Moroccan food (my husband is a Moroccan chef).

I am from Cornwall and I've worked in the book industry for 20 years as a bookseller, publisher and writer.

In 2005 I was in Morocco researching the story of a family member abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa (which formed the basis for THE TENTH GIFT), when a near-fatal climbing incident (which makes an appearance in THE SALT ROAD)made me rethink my future! (The whole story is told on my website in 'Inspirations')

I went home, gave up my office job in London, sold my flat and shipped the contents to Morocco. In October of that year I married Abdellatif, my own 'Berber pirate', and now we split our time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains.

I still work, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins and am the editor for (among others) George RR Martin (GAME OF THRONES), Sam Bourne, Dean Koontz, Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence and Raymond Feist.

I was responsible for publishing the works of JRR Tolkien during the 1980s and 1990s and worked on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, spending many months in New Zealand with cast and crew. Under the pseudonym of Jude Fisher I wrote 3 bestselling Visual Companions to the films, and I'll be doing the same for the 2 HOBBIT movies. I have also written several books for children, the latest being GOLDSEEKERS.




Product Description

Review

Jane Johnson writes the sort of books you want to tell everyone about - they hook you from the first page and sweep you along with passion, history and romance. I'm addicted (Katie Fforde )

An utterly compelling story (Stuart Macbride, Author Of Cold Granite )

An irresistible page turner - I loved it (Barbara Erskine )

Imagine the darkest Arabian Tale combined with Tremain's glorious Restoration. A truly alluring read (Essie Fox, Author Of The Somnambulist )

Far more than a rip-roaring read: it's a true work of art. Deftly recreating the court intrigue of the tyrannical Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail - with all its trappings of superstition, black magic and torture - it sucks you down through interleaving layers steeped in blood, sweat and raw adrenalin, to a mesmerising bedrock of real history... The Sultan's Wife gets inside you, conjuring its magic long after you read the last line (Tahir Shah, Author Of The Caliph's House )

Full of intrigue, deceit, skulduggery and murder. It has romance in it, but also heartbreak and personal tragedy. It's deeply evocative of North Africa - the sights, the smells, the culture, but there are also great depictions of London at the time, and the court of Charles II. I really enjoyed it (Ben Kane, Bestselling Author Of Spartacus: The Gladiator )

About the Author

Jane Johnson was raised in Cornwall but now lives for half the year in a remote mountain village in Morocco. Her first novel set in North Africa is The Tenth Gift, and this was followed by The Salt Road. The Sultan's Wife is her third Moroccan novel. She has been involved in the book industry for many years and combines her work as a publisher with writing for both adults and children.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Dawson VINE VOICE on 17 May 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a sucker for anything Morocco-based, so I'd chosen this title based solely on the setting, with no prior knowledge of the author or her work. I was hoping for a bit of exotic escapism rather than necessarily expecting great literature - but this book delivers both in spades!

Jane Johnson's "Nus-Nus" is one of the most memorable protagonists I have come across in recent times. He is a noble and dignified hero, all the more human for his alternating strength and vulnerability. Johnson takes us deep into Nus-Nus's precarious life in the imperial court of 17th Century Meknes, where no one is safe from the erratic whims of the sultan and the only way to survive is maintain your mask at all times. The arrival of an Englishwoman to the sultan's harem presents a deeply dangerous challenge to Nus-Nus's carefully cultivated facade.

This is a highly memorable book, sensitively and beautifully written, and a completely immersive experience. It is that rarest thing, a novel that leaves you, on completion, with the feeling of having savoured an exquisite and satisfying meal: replete, sated, content, and with a definite taste for the author's work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Helen S VINE VOICE on 4 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Sultan's Wife is set in Morocco in the year 1677 and is narrated by two different characters. The first is Nus-Nus, a eunuch slave in the palace of the Sultan Moulay Ismail and the second is Alys Swann, an Englishwoman who has been captured at sea by corsairs and given to the Sultan as a gift. Amidst the dangers and conspiracies of Ismail's court, Nus-Nus and Alys form a friendship and try to help each other survive.

I haven't read any of Jane Johnson's previous novels and chose to read this one purely because the setting sounded so interesting. I've never read a novel set in 17th century Morocco and I fell in love with the setting from the very first chapter. Everything was described so vividly, I wasn't surprised to find that the author lives in Morocco herself and has already written two other books set in the same country. I learned so many fascinating little facts about Moroccan history and culture and about the building of the historic city of Meknes (which was intended to rival Versailles). There are also a few chapters where the action moves to England and the court of Charles II in Restoration-period London. It was interesting to be shown the English court through the eyes of Nus-Nus and to see the ways in which it was both different and similar to the Moroccan court. But although there are lots of descriptions of food, clothing, furnishings etc, the pace of the story never slows down and there's always something happening.

Nus-Nus and Alys are fictional characters but Moulay Ismail, the Sultan, was a real person and is considered to be one of the cruelest rulers in history (one of his nicknames is 'the bloodthirsty').
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BRIAN PLAYFAIR VINE VOICE on 20 May 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a novel by Jane Johnson set in Morocco circa 1677. It tells the story of two characters Nus-Nus a palace eunuch taken into slavery from his Senufo tribe and Alys Swann an English woman captured by Moroccan corsairs (pirates) and presented as a gift to the Sultan Moulay Ismail, Emperor of Morocco.
Nus-Nus has spent some years travelling with a european doctor before finding himself at the Palace of the Sultan and as a result can speak and write in english and Moroccan arabic. This gives him certain advantages as the Sultan cannot read or write so he becomes his scibe and interpriter. He also does errands for Zidana the Sultans chief wife who is well known for her plotting, use of poisons and black magic. This indirectly gets Nus Nus into all kind of trouble ending up with him being accused of murder. When Alys arrives at the Palace alone and not knowing what will happen to her he befriends her and teaches her how to survive.
What follows is an adventure of palace intrigue as he tries to keep Alys alive and sane and free from the clutches of the Sultans chief wife who schemes and plots to maintain her position.
Enter the problem of Tangier, the main northerly port which is the territory of the English King (as part of his wife's dowry)and the desire of the Sultan to have control of all Moroccan land. Nus-Nus is ideally placed to act for the Sultan in dealings with the English Ambassador. Eventually to resolve differences a party is sent to England to meet the King and Nus-Nus is chosen to go. Now he plots to help Alys escape the palace and the attentions of Zidana the chief wife who is determined kill her. The story twists and turns and as usual I have no intention of spoiling the enjoyment of any prospective reader by telling it all now.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Glaister VINE VOICE on 15 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read this book on holiday - and it was a good thing that I had plenty of time on my hands as I could not put it down.

The story revolves around two main characters - Nus-Nus, a black eunuch and Alys Swann and English woman captured whilst on her way to an arranged marriage.

Nus-Nus is a thoroughly likeable character and the author has been clever in her portrayal of Alys as too often female characters are portrayed as sickly sweet and unbelievable - not this time. The story is set in the court of the Sultan of Morocco and the author whisks you away to the country there and has you breathing in the heady scents of Moroccan life.

Set in the 1600's this book beautifully describes North Africa, its people and the grisly horror that was life at that time. I particularly enjoyed the part of the book where the characters spend time in London.

All in all this is much to commend it - perfect holiday reading.
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