This book describes the private lives of the sultans in and around Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire’s occupation of the former Constantinople (1453-1922).

I was fascinated by our visit to Topkapi Palace several years ago, and this book puts a lot of color into the now empty chambers that were once occupied by the sultan and his servants and harem.  I still cannot keep the various occupants of the Ottoman throne separate, and in many ways this book doesn’t help much because it provides only generic illustrations of some of them – and they were typically depicted similarly by artists. 

But I now know some of the different characters and stories, and have a better understanding of the motivations and tendencies of the various players surrounding the Ottoman throne.