Like a Sword Wound (Ottoman Quartet)
by Ahmet Altan
Amazon rating
Critique Circle rating 
PublisherEuropa Editions
Release Date2018-10-09 (added to CC 5 Feb)
Amazon Sales Rank265,739

Volume 1 of the Ottoman Quartet

A sensual epic of a changing society set during the fall of one of history’s greatest empires.

Altan’s “Ottoman Quartet” spans the fifty years between the final decades of the 19th century and the post-WWI rise of Atatürk as both unchallenged leader and visionary reformer of the new Turkey. The four books in the quartet tell the gripping stories of an unforgettable cast of characters, among them: an Ottoman army officer, the Sultan’s personal doctor, a scion of the royal house whose Western education brings him into conflict with his family’s legacy, and a beguiling Turkish aristocrat who, while fond of her emancipated
life in Paris, finds herself drawn to a conservative Muslim spiritual leader.

Intrigue, betrayal, love, war, progress, and tradition provide a colorful backdrop against which the lives of these characters play out. All the while, the society that spawned them is transforming and the Sublime Empire disintegrating.

Here is a Turkish saga reminiscent of War and Peace, written in lively, contemporary prose that traces not only the social currents of the time but also the erotic and emotional lives of its characters.

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Member Reviews
(5 Feb)
This is the first book I read my Ahmet Altan and I was blown away. His writing is poetic and brilliant. Dead family members appear in the visions of an old man and give him accounts of their lives. The book has several dimensions and one gets submerged without even realizing. The author shows you life behind palace walls, what goes on in the mind of a dervish as well as a simple soldier. Can't wait to get my hands on the next one.