This book’s title is taken from the ancient Sumerian god Inanna.
It is set in the Ottoman Empire during the 19th century and is the story of Cemil, an educated man who despite having studied in Baghdad, Istanbul and Paris, still hasn’t found “himself” and lives in his father’s shadow.
During his search to find himself, he meets an Armenian girl and falls in love.
Cemil is already married and the girl’s father does not approve his daughter becoming Cemil’s second wife. He sends Cemil from their village into exile. The story follows Cemil, his wife and the Armenian girl on their journey to find a place to live and the three men who try to protect them.
Intertwined with Cemil’s story is another about Bilal, a young man sent to become a Janissary – a soldier for the Empire. Following the Sultan’s disbandment of the Janissary Corps, Bilal starts working for a Pasha. One evening whilst looking after hunting dogs, in the Pasha’s mansion, he sees a girl. She’s Nurhayal, one of the Pasha’s concubines. Even though it’s forbidden for them to meet or even look at each each other, they fall in love.
Set during a turbulent period in Istanbul’s history this novel explores the lives of its soldiers and people, their social lives, relationships and their struggles to live in the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
“This book tells the story of several cultures that lived together in a single Empire on the soil of Anatolia, and looks at the daily lives of the people and their loves against the background of change during difficult times.”