blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus – Ayşe Osmanoğlu*

Brothers bound by blood but fated to be enemies. Can their Empire survive or will it crumble into myth?

Istanbul, 1903. Since his younger brother usurped the Imperial throne, Sultan Murad V has been imprisoned with his family for nearly thirty years.
The new century heralds immense change. Anarchy and revolution threaten the established order.
Powerful enemies plot the fall of the once mighty Ottoman Empire. Only death will bring freedom to the enlightened former sultan. But the waters of the Bosphorus run deep: assassins lurk in shadows,
intrigue abounds, and scandal in the family threatens to bring destruction of all that he holds dear…

For over six hundred years the history of the Turks and their vast and powerful Empire has been
inextricably linked to the Ottoman dynasty. Can this extraordinary family, and the Empire they built,
survive into the new century?

Set against the magnificent backdrop of Imperial Istanbul,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is a spellbinding tale of love, duty and sacrifice.
Evocative and utterly beguiling,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is perfect for fans of Colin Falconer, Kate Morton and Philippa Gregory.

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Ayşe Osmanoğlu is a member of the Imperial Ottoman family, being descended from Sultan Murad V through her grandfather and from Sultan Mehmed V (Mehmed Reşad) through her grandmother. After reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter, she then obtained an M.A. in Turkish Studies at SOAS, University of London, specialising in Ottoman History. She lives in the UK with her husband and five children.

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My thoughts: this was really fascinating, a partly fictionalised account of the lives of the deposed Sultan Murad V and his family, who lived under house arrest after his brother seized the throne.

Written by a descendant of the family, it obviously has a slight bias towards the real life figures in it, but that’s understandable and I think if I were to write about my ancestors, I’d probably do the same. Saladuddin in particular was a really interesting, intelligent man, the son of the former sultan, he had lots of ideas about reforming the Ottoman Empire and bringing it into the 20th Century, but his paranoid and mistrustful uncle would never have listened.

It is at times very sad, the whole family, four generations at one point, were trapped in an admittedly luxurious Palace, but unable to see any of their other relatives, of which there were many, or even know what was going on outside the walls, unless from the newspapers and loyal servants’ gossip. After Murad’s death, they are finally allowed on restricted outings and Prince Nurid doesn’t even realise that the four legged creatures on the streets are dogs, that’s how isolated and forgotten they were.

It’s an incredibly moving and deeply interesting read – seeing world history through their eyes, as opposed to the Western European one I learnt at school was especially intriguing.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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