The Chronicles of Will Ryde & Awa Maryam
Book One - A Tudor Turk
About The Book
Istanbul, 1591- and Sultan Murad III, the mightiest ruler in the world, has been robbed. The Staff of Moses has been stolen from his private collection of religious artefacts in the Topkapi Palace, right from under his imperial nose. The wooden Staff, held by Moses as he parted the Red Sea, is a magical symbol of power worth a king’s ransom – and the furious Sultan wants it back.
A small undercover unit of hand-picked, trusted warriors is hastily assembled to track down the thieves. They are the ‘Rüzgar’ – the ‘Wind’ – and like the wind, they travel silently and unseen. Awa, the studious daughter of a noble family from the Songhai Empire in west Africa, was kidnapped and enslaved by Moroccans after the disastrous Battle of Tondibi. Awa is a whirling and deadly force when she has a scimitar in her hand – although killing is contrary to her beliefs. Will, aged 16, is a galley slave on board a Moroccan warship; he was snatched from London at the age of 5. Joining the Rüzgar turns him into a man. He and Awa become fast friends. The other comrades are Turkish, Greek and Albanian, all led by the charismatic Bosnian Mehmed Konjic, a wise counsellor and natural hero.
The Rüzgar’s pursuit of a network of rogues takes them across continents and into many perilous situations. The action is fast – think Mission Impossible in the 16th Century, big fights, situations requiring a Houdini to escape from . . .and thrilling backdrops including deserts, oceans, dungeons, the roofs of the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, the canals of Venice, a gladiator’s arena, the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Think too of a throng of different peoples colourfully dressed under the ever-present sun, and faraway England just a rainy outpost. And think too of the Earl of Rothminster, the aristocratic spider spinning his sinister web to ensnare the Staff and those who pursue it, and thus make the task to reclaim it a mission that is (almost) impossible . . .
Published: 21 February 2019
Updated on: 29/11/18
A girl-warrior of Songhai nobility captured in Africa ... an English boy enslaved from the age of five ... a stolen religious relic that leads to an international chase.... In A Tudor Turk, Rehan Khan pulls off a rare literary coup. It’s a masterly meld of riveting historical background, characters whose emotions blaze from the pages, a balance between an unlikely (but likeable) male and female duo, and settings so vivid you will think you’re hearing and smelling the scenes. This is confident, perfectly paced storytelling, a rip-roaring adventure full of narrative surprises. The pace does not let up from page one, and by the conclusion readers young and old will be eager for more from Will and Awa!
Peter Lerangis, New York Times Bestselling author of the Seven Wonders series.
Rehan Khan, an emerging writer worth watching, presents an alternative view of the Elizabethan age than received ideas about the Spanish Armada, an Age of Discovery, and European rebirth. In A Tudor Turk, he reverses the colonial gaze, giving voice to marginalised characters… In these uncertain Brexit days, A Tudor Turk’s portrayals of sixteenth-century prejudice against Ottoman Turks, an ageing queen named Elizabeth, and England as an isolated and despised European outpost cannot but find resonance. To borrow Jo Cox’s words, the novel shows that different cultures share ‘more in common than that which divides us’. Or, to quote Shakespeare, who makes a cameo in these pages, ‘To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods’.
Dr Claire Chambers, Senior Lecturer in Global Literature
Three huzzahs for this scintillating new take on the late Tudor period: a rip-roaring, erudite page-turner that sets British history in its wider cosmopolitan context, celebrating the intertwined civilisations and faiths of three continents, while sharply interrogating the moral codes that drive the spread of empires. Enslaved far from the lands of their births, Will, a young English swordsman, and Awa, a noble West African warrior woman, must prove themselves no pawns in a ruthless geopolitical game of power and prestige, ultimately battling their own torn loyalties to reach new understandings of home. Though Ottoman scimitars and Elizabethan daggers glint at every dark corner, Rehan Khan’s gripping tale is peppered with the wisdom of ages and glows with the ruby light of a compassionate heart - a jewel no snaggle-toothed Queen or vainglorious Sultan can buy.
Naomi Foyle, author of The Gaia Chronicles.