Rating: ★ | .5 star (Manuel was the only halfway decent part of this book)
Release Date: 1980 (November 7th, 2007)
Series or Standalone: Standalone (thank god)
Genre: Trash (please tell me that is a genre) but erotic fiction, “historical” fiction, Historical Romance, Romance,
Page Count: 416 pages
Dates Read: August 26th – September 9th, 2017
Adora! Her beauty was legend. And in the dying days of the great Byzantine Empire – that last vestige of what had once been Imperial Rome – her value as the emperor’s daughter was priceless. Three men claimed her as wife. Orkhan, the powerful Ottoman sultan; the dashing pirate Alexander, lord of Mesembria; and Prince Murad, to whom Adora’s heart truly belonged. In a grand epic that sweeps the reader from the golden palaces of fourteenth-century Byzantium to the blazing sensuality of the sultan’s harem, Adora was a woman who firmly controlled her own destiny because she and Murad were meant only for each other. And together their passions would forge an empire. Adora! Her name was the secret of all love.
– Goodreads 2017
This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read in my entire life.
Unlike some other books I’ve rated 1 star (like Moby Dick, which was mostly the pacing) and (ACOMAF, which was personal reasons) this book makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like good literature (and I have not read 50 Shades, so that might be a dramatization). This book is absolutely disgusting in more than one way. Also, I cannot read the synopsis of this book, without dying a little inside.
This book should be marked with trigger warnings for rape, abuse, violence, pedophilia, incest, and child abuse among other things. If any of those things upset you a lot, do not read this book. Basically, this book is hecka problematic.
To say: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK PERIOD.
You will regret it the rest of life, but then again I love writing negative reviews, so watch me go pick up 50 Shades to read tomorrow. I am here to roast thing book, and I will pick it apart until there is nothing left to chew. There will not be a spoiler section because I think it’s important that people know how problematic this book is. I personally do not have anything against you if you like this book, you do you. But I’d encourage others not to read this because I think this deserves to be burned and shouldn’t have been allowed to get published.
WARNING: TOVA IS A HISTORY SNOB AND IS 100% UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT IT!
Disclaimer: If you liked this book, that is fine. You have the right to your own opinion. I mean you no disrespect. Nor, do I by any means mean any disrespect to the author (though she is dead).
SPOILERS ARE EVERYWHERE I AM HERE TO RANT! RANT MODE ACTIVATED.
I think I lost my innocense reading this book, I am scarred. I have emotional starch masks from it, and I wish I could douse my eyes with holy water, to burn away the images I got from a few different scenes.
Before we get any further, we should talk about transliterations. Also, this is going to make me sound like a real nerd, which I am – so that is okay! Languages such as Arabic, Egyptian, Farsi (Persian), Turkish, Ottoman Turkish ( + a multitude of other languages in that part of the world) have a different alphabet, which makes there many different possible ways to spell names. I know many of these differently than Bertrice uses. For example, I know Orkhan as Orhan (though Autocorrect hates both. Fun fact autocorrect hates the word autocorrect.) You’ve probably heard the word Khan used (probably as a title for rulers in Asia and the Middle East, or from Genghis Khan, or even from Khan Academy) and that is normally pronounced as KON, that’s how I would say it at least. But in Turkish (from my limited experience since I’m newish to learning it) they pronounce and spell it, at least in many cases as Han, and like its pronounced like the name, as in Han Solo. It’s a traditional add on to the Sultan title. For example, we’ll use one of my favorites, Suleiman as an example. The proper title of Suleiman would be this: Sultan Suleiman Han Hazretlari Sovereign of The Sublime House of Osman, Sultan es Selatin (Sultan of Sultans), Khakhan (Khan of the Khans), Commander of the faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the lord of the Universe, Custodian of the Holy Cities of Mecca, Medina and Kouds (Jerusalem), Kayser-i Rum (Caesar of Rome), Padishah of The Three Cities of Istanbul (Constantinople), Edirne (Adrianople) and Bursa, and of the Cities of Châm (Damascus) and Cairo (Egypt), of all Azerbaijan, of the Maghreb, of Barkah, of Kairouan, of Alep, of the Arab and Persian Iraq, of Basra, of El Hasa strip, of Raqqa, of Mosul, of Parthia, of Diyâr-ı Bekr, of Cilicia, of the provinces of Erzurum, of Sivas, of Adana, of Karaman, of Van, of Barbaria, of Habech (Abyssinia), of Tunisia, of Tripoli, of Châm (Syria), of Cyprus, of Rhodes, of Crete, of the province of Morea (Peloponnese), of Bahr-i Sefid (Mediterranean Sea), of Bahr-i Siyah (Black Sea), of Anatolia, of Rumelia (the European part of the Empire), of Bagdad, of Kurdistan, of Greece, of Turkestan, of Tartary, of Circassia, of the two regions of Kabarda, of Gorjestan (Georgia), of the steppe of Kipchaks, of the whole country of the Tatars, of Kefa (Feodosiya) and of all the neighbouring regions, of Bosnia, of the City and Fort of Belgrade, of the province of Sirbistan (Serbia), with all the castles and cities, of all Arnaut, of all Eflak (Wallachia) and Bogdania (Moldavia), as well as all the dependencies and borders, and many others countries and cities. Thanks, Wikipedia! Yeah, that would be his full title more or less. You also can refer to a Sultan as a hünkarım (my sovereign, equivalent with “Your Imperial Majesty”), padişah efendim (my master Emperor), or sultanım (my sultan). Basically, if I ever met an Ottoman Sultan, I’d be set. Also, Sultan, şah (Shah) and Khan are all ways to say, King. Also, we have Bajazet which I know as Bayezid (this Bajazet is Bayezid I). My suggestion for pronouncing that is to think about Baja California (which is part of Mexico, if you don’t know). Baja is pronounced BA-HA. So it’s BAHAzet. Bayezid or Beyazid is traditionally pronounced Bae-yah-zeed. Lastly, we have Mohamed (which the prophet) which we see two of at the very end, which I know as Mehmed (or Mehmet). The first Mohamed is Mehmed I (son of Bayezid I) and the Authors note, mentions the conquer of Constantinople, which was Mehmed II. I will probably use the names interchangeably in this review. I will use Roman numbers to refer which one I’m talking about, because I will also mention Murad II, III, IV, Ibrahim I, Osman I, II, Ahmed I, Suleiman I, Selim I, II, & Mustafa I. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, ask me and I’ll try to explain in English, not history.
I love the Ottoman Empire.
Especially from about Mehmed II – Ibrahim I and as an Ottoman Enthusiast I feel offended by the portray of certain historical figures – specifically Orhan & Murad. I am not Turkish, but all the Sultan’s are important historical figures in their history, and they deserve some respect. This book is offensive and portrays the Sultan mostly as terrible people, who are fuck boys, rape people on a regular basis, and have no self-respect or respect for women. Also, it disrespects people like Bayezid I & Mehmed I, but then this book basically disrespects every historical figure used. You’d think the House of Osman was made up of fuckboys from this shit. I get that we all can’t be Osman Ghazi’s, but still. Just because you’re writing a book that includes a less represented group, or culture doesn’t mean you can be disrespectful about it. That is not cool, dude.
First, we shall discuss the cover because it’s absolutely hideous. The mass market paperback actually isn’t too bad, but the regular paperback – I cannot. It makes me ashamed in humanity. Part of me actually dies whenever I look at it. Bless regenerative cells. The one sort of good thing about it is the Hagia Sophia (or is the Suleimanye Mosque, which wasn’t built until like 200 years after Theodora’s prime). The cover model, I’m sorry but this is just bad. Your clothes look like they could fall off if you removed your arms, also your purple eyes look super fake. PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE PURPLE EYES (unless it’s fantasy, then I would forgive but this is not fantasy.)
Actually, they’re all remarkably cheesy and rather hideous. My favorite is probably the center, but the model has really strange hair.
Seriously, this is book* is absolute trash. So why did I read it?
*why must I always type bok, when I try to type book. At least my fingers know, shit when it sees it.
This book essentially a mess because …
Every love interest rapes, Adora at least once. Sometimes, multiple times, yet she still somehow ends up falling head over heels for them. The most disgusting one was Murad.
There is no actual love in this book, it’s entirely lust. Even some of Theadora’s love for her children felt slightly bullshitted at times.
There are a lot of disgusting sex scenes of all forms, including child pedophilia.
People demented to their mental illness, and nothing more.
Intelligence as a woman is frowned upon and shamed.
Girl hate galore.
Making fun of people for impediments.
Instalove, despite having been raped by all the love interests.
Going back to toxic relationships.
Toxic relationships galore.
[ the characters ]
Our main character, Theadora (not to be confused with Empress Theodora, Justinian I’s wife) or Adora as she is more commonly referred as, is a historical figure, just um not to the same extent. Theadora Cantacuzene (Kantakouzene) a princess of Byzantium and the third wife of Sultan Orhan Ghazi. She was the mother of Halil & Ibrahim (surprise surprise) and I guess she was beautiful. In this book she supposedly lives to 90* something, that is wrong. She died in 1381, which is a grand 7 or so years before Murad was assassinated. As far as it’s recorded she was never in a relationship with Murad, or with any pirates named Alexander. Basically, in history, she did nothing and isn’t a person of remarkable interest. I get that you wouldn’t have a story without the whole Orhan, Alexander, Murad transition, but damn why would you write a whole story centering on someone like Theadora when you could write a book about someone actually likable, like I don’t know young Safiye, or Kosem, or Hurrem, or Mahidevran, or Nurbanu (and that is saying something okay), literally anyone other than Theadora. She will never let you forget that she’s a princess, and she’s really dumb. She claims to be smart, and have a Greek mindset, but she gets herself into so many dumb situations and does so many dumb things I kind of doubt her powers of logic and reason are as potent as she claims. Basically, she’s Princess Isabella from Magnificent Century. If you know anything about me, and Season two so far – I hate Isabella. She’s so obnoxious, and I don’t understand her purpose in the show. At least Sadika and Firuze have a good vendetta and actors and reasons for trying to seduce Suleiman I.
*I’m sorry we can’t all be Safiye Sultan’s, but die when you’re supposed to die.
Basically, she’s a Mary Sue if I ever saw one, and she’s ridiculously unrealistic. I feel as if her intended purpose was to be a strong, intelligent woman who took her fate into her own hands, but in reality she really only seems valid when she’s married to some hot a-hole, who seems to mock her “intelligence” also, she does a remarkable amount of stupid things that her supposed “intelligence” would not have her do, she’s kind of a hypocrite. I didn’t really like her, though I pity her.
She is nothing without being in some kind of abusive disgusting relationship, and this book would have no plot.
John & Zoe Cantacuzene are not great parents, sure they’re not on the same level as the parents from Written in the Stars. Apparently, they care a lot, but that wasn’t clear. What kind of parent actually marries their child off to someone that much older than them?
John Palaiologos (John V Palaiologos) wasn’t a terrible person, I actually almost kind of liked him in the end, he didn’t take Helena’s shit without salt, though he really should have exiled that disgusting woman. I just don’t know how I feel about what he did when Theadora asked for refuge when she was escaping Murad, and he agrees but then he ends up just marrying her off to Edward Cullen (Alexander).
Orhan is the eldest son of Osman I the infamous warrior chief who started the Ottoman Empire from a dream he had, of a tree growing out of his chest. The empire lasted 623 years, and compared to what Osman did, we can say that Orhan didn’t do that much. I get that it would be hard to outdo someone like Osman who created an empire, but you have to give him some credit, did Bertice? Nope, Orhan is an old, disgusting fuckboy sultan, who doesn’t seem to do anything remotely political, and wasn’t very intelligent. The only good part about him is that he does seem to somewhat care about his children, and he leaves Theadora alone after she’s pregnant, and once he understands that she’s not trying to get the power he tries to show her “what love feels like” I guess? I don’t know, by the end, he was the most qualified love interest, and that is just sad because he shouldn’t have been qualified either. Honestly, this was a disgrace to the spirit of Orhan. And if it’s impossible, Orhan’s kids are worse than him. A+ for everything he did wrong.
Murad was also a mess, perhaps more so, because he was a very important figure in Ottoman History.
He conquered Adrianople (Edirne) in 1362 which became the empire’s capital until Mehmed captured Constantinople in 1453. He also created the Janissaries*(the Ottoman main military force) which lasted long after his death. On top of that, he captured Thrace in 1363 as well as Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. He evolved the Ottoman governmental and military organization. He redid the whole tax system, and as a result, for the first time in Ottoman history, the income of the Treasury was greater than its expenses. But does this Murad reflect that? Nope. This Murad is a fucking mess. He is a such a player and has very little respect for a woman unless he wants to fuck them, and sometimes not even then. He spoiled, and his needs are more important than anyone else’s. He’s not a good dude.
But Murad is this book, makes me want to scream. He’s like Scott Disick, but worse. Minutes after his father’s death, he basically goes and rapes Theadora. And Apparently, he and Adora are meant for each other, and it’s a bunch of fucking bullshit. Also, he constantly puts down Theadora for “being smart,” not that I feel like Theadora is smart, but it’s fucking rude. He’s just the worst, and I hate him. He should not have been a love interest. He is Satan. He’s also a hypocrite, and I hate with the passion of a thousand acrid lemons.
* – The Janissaries are an elite armed infantry and the Sultan’s personal militia. The Ottoman’s kidnapped young Christian boys from a variety of provinces that the empire controlled, converted them and turned them into a dispensable fighting machine. Except it was kind of badly set up, and they rebelled a lot.
Suleiman is thought I would actually like, he started out so good. But then he started lusting after his stepmother, but that lasted all of three pages. He also dies really conveniently.
Why is it impossible to have Theodora find someone of royal blood that isn’t certifiably insane or who doesn’t wish to fuck her when the Sultan’s dead? Impossible I tell you.
Ibrahim wasn’t a person, he was his mental illness, he had no character, apart from his madness. I get that this book was written in the fucking 80s when good representation wasn’t a concern but writing a person without any character apart from the fact that there mentally unstable is not okay. No wonder he commits suicide. Obviously because Beatrice Small ruined his character which didn’t take much considering he never had one.
Alexander was Theodora’s third husband, and he is basically Edward Cullen, he watches her sleep, and he decides to watch her, without any clothes on. Sure, he’s nice to look at, but he did hold you hostage, and he watches you sleep naked, without your permission.
Halil was Orhan and Theodora’s son. He was pretty cute as a little kid, but then he didn’t die* when he should have and he became a fuckboy and married his cousin Alexis and then got her pregnant and Theodora was a grandmother before the age of 30. That kind of ruined him for me.
*- Halil was kidnapped by pirates, and presumably killed. ‘The kidnapping of Prince Halil ‘is actually a separate “child”, according to Google.
Instead of being killed by pirates, Theodora and Halil meet Alexander and he decides he’s going to hold them hostage for ransom, but Orhan doesn’t really care that much, so he waits like a month before even bothering to send part of the money demanded. So, naturally Theadora decides she should save herself, and leave Halil alone with this creepy pirate dude who wants to fuck her because her husband doesn’t actually care about her, so if she sends Halil back he’ll never pay the rest and she’ll be stuck with Alexander for the rest of her life, because that would be a tragedy considering her husband doesn’t actually love her and she wants to get away from him. She had a solution, what does she do? Ruin it.
Bajazet is Murad and Adora’s eldest son. He later became the Sultan Bayezid I. He was most infamous for attempting to take Constantinople* which was unsuccessful. He was known as Yıldırım Bayezid, which is Ottoman Turkish for Lightning Bolt. Bayezid doesn’t do much in the story, at all. He actually ends up becoming a jerk to his mother, and kind of ignores her. It’s fine. She didn’t just take the namesake of my favorite Ottoman, and rub it in the dirt.
*- They skim over the details of that, and like don’t mention that it failed. Also, Adora tells her grandson, Mohammed (Mehmed I
Osman & Orhan where the second and third sons of Murad and Theadora, and they were so useless. But their death scene is kind of hilarious. Bajazet is just really lucky and doesn’t have to kill any of his siblings. It worked out too well.
Ariadne & (Alexander) are Theadora and Alexander’s twin daughter and son. Alexander dies right after he was born, and Ariadne survives a little longer. She basically forgets they existed. At one point, when she’s pregnant with baby number 7, when asked by her eldest son, Halil if she thinks it’s going to be a boy she replies. “I birth only sons!” So, what does that make Ariadne? The next door neighbor?
Cuntuz Bey* is Murad’s bastard son with his side hoe Mara when he was staying in Gapolli Greece. He’s a major a-hole, and does a lot of questionable things, like trying to kill his brother’s (minus Yakub) and is semi-effective. I get that he wasn’t privileged like his half brother’s and that he grew up hating his parents, which spawned from his grandparent’s hatred of their whore daughter, and her infidel customer. They’ve force-fed him this prayer, to despise his mother, his father, and to thank god and bless his most magnanimous grandparents, or whatnot. That would make anyone go mad, probably.
*- In the list of Murad’s children you cannot find any type of Cuntuz, but you can find Savcı Bey which is my best guess and if you read Savcı’s Wikipedia, it sounds a lot like certain things that go down in this book, like Savcı is besties with Prince Andronicus, and Bertrice did stay true to Savcı’s punishment after his and Andronicus’s joint rebellion.
Thamar is the “second” wife of Murad I and the mother of Prince Yakub. She was actually a person and one of Murad’s spouse, was the daughter of the Tsar of Bulgaria, Ivan Alexander (who sounds like a really great dude, honestly) marrying his fifteen-year-old daughter off to a man, who is at least twice her age. Thamar was okay, a little annoying at times, but she deserved better, but I didn’t particularly care about her. She whined, and she got mistreated and I don’t know, she didn’t have a chance at anything honestly. And Murad, you’re the fucking Sultan of 3 continents, 7 climates, I think you can get money in other ways than impregnating fifteen-year-old girls with dowries.
Yakub is Murad and Thamar’s* son, who um a little two conveniently dies during the battle that kills Murad. He would have died anyway, because of Ottoman fratricide rules, but I think historic Bayezid probably killed him.
*Yakub was not Thamar (or Kera Tamara)’s son, he was born from Murad’s seed via an unknown woman/concubine.
Empress Helena, I hated on so many levels, she did so many things that were completely uncalled for, and the only mildly decent thing she did was to get rid of Osman and Orhan, so Bajazit didn’t have to later. She’s so disgusting, and I really wish John had dumped her. That scene involving her and that guy having sexual relations with those young children, made me want to throw up, and I have emetophobia.
Manuel (Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos) was the only person, who didn’t annoy the crap out of me. He was actually a good person, who I cared about.
And he didn’t really become a character until at least 75% through a 400+ page book. He was so pure, and beside him, there was the midwife, Fatima, the handmaiden/slave, Iris and Ali Yahya were the only likable characters. It’s sad. But Manuel, actually takes care of his infant daughter, after his wife’s death. It shook me. Theadora doesn’t nurse her own babies, and Manuel actually puts his daughter to bed.
Prince Andronicus ( Emperor Andronicus IV Palaiologos) again what an a-hole. Literally, he had zero redeeming qualities, and he was just a terrible person and bad influence. He’s his mother’s son.
Janfeda* is not an important character, the most remarkable thing is that Murad marries her off at some point. She is the only daughter and youngest child of Murad and Theadora.
*- Murad has one daughter, that was recognized at least, and her name was Fatima,
[ plot ]
this is going to sound like the most ridiculous plot, but trust me this is the actual plot
The book starts out in 1341 in Constantinople at the home of Adora’s father’s John Cantacuzene, who was a good friend of the former emperors, Andronicus III. But like most kings, Andronicus wasn’t very good at being King, so basically John was the actual emperor, okay, I’ll be honest the line of emperors of Byzantium confuses me a lot, there are so many and they’re basically all named John. I can totally remember in order 35 different Sultan’s, partially because they have cool names, and there aren’t 500 billion trillion them. I do know there were 11 emperor’s name Constantine. But when Andronicus dies, his wife and mother of his heir, who is shockingly named John (how original, I know). But in short, Andronicus’s widow, Anna of Savoy isn’t John Cantacuzene’s biggest fan, so he hides his wife Zoe, and his family in a number of different convents, except his eldest son, who joins him in his quest to regain “his throne” and his other son who is sent off the a monastery.
John Cantacuzene had a lot of children including Helena, Theodora, John, Matthew and two older girls who aren’t important, and I’m lazy so I’m not going to look up their names, so he sents Theodora, Helena and their pregnant mother off to St. Barbara’s where they are supposed to be safe. But Helena, who at age of the seven, is already a total bitch, reveals their father’s plans to marry her off to the grand Turk, Sultan Orhan. Naturally, any four year old would at the prospect of being married off to a man, who is a whopping 51 years older than her, then she throws a fit. Reasonable. But of course, he isn’t going to do that until she get’s her period. Apparently, he cares a lot for her, but he has no qualms about what he’s planning to do. After all, he needs money, and that is WAY more important than his daughter’s happiness.
Part I – Adora
Fast forward a few years, and Theodora is ten, and her father is running out of time, so he marries Theodora off to Orhan, and the best part, he doesn’t even bother to show up to his own wedding. A+ to Orhan. There is a proxy, and I get it’s in an inconvenient location and he doesn’t give two shits about this, as long as he get’s her dowry at some point in time.
She lives in the Nunnery, and one day she decides to climb the wall to the orchard because she really wants a peach. Though, I doubt anyone would have said no if you woke up a nun to ask her for the keys. But while climbing said wall, she falls off but gets caught by the arms of Prince Murad. Yep, he just happens to be walking by just in time, to rush over and stand right in her path of descent. It was a little too perfect.
He is instantly consumed with lust for this thirteen-year-old. He offers to show her love or whatnot. He proceeds to kiss her, without her consent, and nicknames her Adora, and calls her adorable. She likes it. Then he shows her what love is, without taking her virginity. I’m not sure what he did, but I don’t want to know. He becomes very possessive of her, and she plays right along.
“You belong to me,” he said huskily, “now and always.” She knew she was lost, whatever happened. She knew she loved him. “Yes,” she whispered, amazed at her own words. “Yes! I do belong to you, Murad!” (PG. 45)
Murad fails to mention at first, that he technically her stepson, probably because that would make everything super weird. He is a certified hypocrite because doesn’t mind “dallying” (amorously) with his stepmother but he supposedly has enough honor, not to seduce her. Save that until your dad is dead dude.
Now Orhan has two wives already, Anastasia & Nilufer and three sons, Ibrahim, from Anastasia who is “unfortunately*” mad, Suleiman, and Murad (yes, that Murad) from Nilufer.
* – Orhan did have a son named Ibrahim, who wasn’t mad from my gatherings, though Google is undecided on the maternity of the mother, it says Theodora, and it also says Asporça Hatun. I’m assuming that Anastasia is Asporça for all purposes, but why did you change her name, but kept everyone else? It’s also curious because a couple about 300 years after this story there was a very historic Sultana, named Kosem (Ahmed I’s wife and the mother of GIF Murad, Murad IV) but her birth name was Anastasia, and she did indeed have a mad son, named Ibrahim who later went on to be Sultan Ibrahim I. So, she could be referencing to that as well, though I wouldn’t see the point, if you wanted to write about Kosem/Ibrahim write a separate book for that, actually don’t. I don’t want you to ruin them.
Back at home in Europe, Theadora’s father is struggling, because he needs more help from Orhan. He debates marrying off Helena, his eldest daughter who is promised to marry the Prince, and heir of the Byzantium Empire to Prince Suleiman (Murad’s older brother). But he makes the biggest mistake of his life and lets Helena and John get married. So, he decides to force Theadora on Orhan but demanding that Orhan impregnate his daughter, and send her dowry to her father. This pisses Orhan off, but he goes through with it all and takes his anger out on Adora. That scene was so disgusting. He has Adora tied to a bedpost, making her escape futile. He has a servant take her virginity with a piece of wood and has a female slave give him a blowjob, to prepare him in front of her. And at this point, she’s only thirteen. He then engages in sexual intercourse, as if he was doing it to an animal, without any consent. After the first night, she gets royally pissed, and he realizes his mistake, and after that shows her how to “love him.” Essentially she is instructed in sex lessons, by the Sultan himself. Then she becomes pregnant, and he leaves her alone.
Also, we get a very “lovely” bathroom/sauna/hot tub scene between Suleiman and Murad. They very casually talk about their father raping Theadora. It’s fine.
Suleiman: “[s]he’s a little too pale for my taste.”
Murad: “Yes, yes.” He said absently, his whole heart going out to Theadora, his dove, his precious love. (PG. 59)
Page 67. We do not speak of that page. That was awful, and should never have existed. What kind of person, makes a child watch you get a blowjob, right before you rape them after you have another person take their virginity?
That completely ruined Orhan as a character, RIP. We can’t all be Osman Ghazi, unfortunately. That scene made Amin and Christian Grey look like puppies.
Fast forward, a few months, and Theadora is very pregnant. Orhan, Murad & Suleiman come for a visit. Lots of angst. Also, Suleiman is described as handsome.
Part II – Adora & Orhan
Halil has grown up and is about six years old. His mother is encouraging him to do ‘manly sports’ but he gets hurt after he falls off a horse, gifted to him by Suleiman. Suleiman says he’s sorry, but Adora is worried.
Suleiman kill her little Halil? Impossible! The prince adored his half-brother. Spoiled him constantly, but she remembered that Suleiman’s eyes could grow cold. (PG. 89)
But its way more complicated. Because Suleiman, now has a thing for Adora. And it’s weird.
“I will make a place for you,” he said huskily. She looked up at him in time to catch him mask the hint of desire flickering in his eyes. (PG. 93)
In order to get away from Suleiman, and because she’s worried about Halil’s limp, Adora pursues taking him to healing hot springs. Orhan consents, but on the return trip, their ship (or should I say Halil’s ship) is overtaken by the pirate ‘Alexander the great’*. He takes her and Halil for ransom. But Orhan only bothers to pay for one of them, after like a month. And the pirate, Alexander has a really disgusting thing for Adora.
*- Newsflash: he’s not that great. And he’s not that Alexander the great. Also, Halil should have died, Because he got killed by pirates.
Adora awoke in the night to find Alexander standing over her bed. In the moonlight that poured through the window, she could see the desire on his face. She makes a move to turn her naked body away from his gaze “I know you’re awake beauty.” (PG. 112)
The rest proceeds like this:
Adora: “Go away.”
Alexander: *doesn’t leave* *then proceeds to fondle and basically rape her* *leaves*
Adora: *weeps bitter tears*
Then they start some weird relationship. Because Alexander is conveniently single. And then Orhan sends the ransom, and because she doesn’t want to be stuck there for eternity she goes back to Bursa and leaves Halil at Alexander’s mercy. What a great mother. Also, Orhan sends Murad to fetch his wife, and son, which is a really big mistake. So we have, an anticlimactic face-off between Murad, Alexander, and Adora.
Then Orhan doesn’t want to bother paying Alexander the rest of the ransom required to get Halil, and that pisses Adora off.
“You’re just going to abandon my son?” (PG. 140)
Orhan then blackmails his in-laws, and make John and Helena pay the rest to Alexander and Halil returns. We get the see the complicated relationship between Orhan and Murad, over Theadora.
“Eat? Eat with a woman? Has my father taken to eating with his woman?” (PG. 136)
Then they have a kissy moment, and it gets very dramatic.
“No, Murad! Please, no! This is wrong!”
“Be silent, my sweet Adora,” he commanded. (PG. 137)
He asks if he can fuck her, without really asking. She says no. He gets upset. And more bitter tears are shed.
In order to get Halil back, Orhan strikes a deal, that involves marrying Halil to his cousin, Alexis, who is John & Helena’s daughter. SO INCEST.
Shortly after the wedding, Theadora receives the information that Orhan is dying. She is slightly worried about what will happen to her and Halil. Orhan dies rather dramatically, Halil promising his father with fervor to help Murad, because Suleiman died conveniently recently, which makes Murad the heir.
The sudden movement of the sultan broke the electricity between them. Orhan sat straight up in his bed and said, “Azareal I come!” and fell back in his bed, the life gone from his dark eyes. (PG. 154)
Murad then proceeds, five seconds after his father’s death, to tell Adora this:
“You have a month to mourn your husband. Then you will join my harem.” (PG. 154)
That’s really considerate of you Murad.
And then he rapes her, and leaves her alone, to cry her “bitter” tears. She decides to run away, to take refuge with Helena and John. She also leaves Halil and Alexis under the mercy of Murad. It’s kind of effective.
Part III – Adora and Alexander
*brother in law promises her safety from Murad*
*also remarries her off to a pirate (and her former captor Alexander (Edward Cullen)*
After like a one page argument, Adora decides that she’s in love with Alexander. They get married and have a lot of sex. Also, apparently Alexander is “Sensitive,” which is not a term I would not use to describe a man who watches woman sleep naked without their permission. He is also described as a Greek god. *cringes*
Stuff happens that I didn’t care about. Adora finally gets pregnant, and later has twins, Ariadne and Alexander. Alexander (the baby) dies shortly after birth. But Ariadne is everything Adora wants (a.k.a she’s gorges.
Helena gets worse, “Bitch! If you put us in danger, I will kill you!” (PG. 169)
Helena doesn’t like seeing Adora happy, so she plots to kill Alexander, with poison. She’s been fucking the guy who makes the poisons, and there is a very long and utterly disgusting scene that involves a whole lot of descriptive child pedophilia, with Helena and the poisoner, and two little slave children. I wanted to rip pages 186-189 out and burn them, but I couldn’t.
Lots of Alexander and Adora smut. Not a fan. And it’s still lust, not love.
“You spoil Ariadne. And,” he laughs, “I want to be spoiled too.” (PG. 221)
He wants to drink his wife’s milk. why is that a thing? Let the baby have it, you selfish idiot.
Alexander leaves on a trip, with the servant that Helena paid off to kill him. Ariadne gets really sick. She dies shortly after from a fever or something. Adora is very sad. Then Alexander returns, but he’s dead. They have this super weird spiritual conversation, but he’s dead. It’s strange. He tells her to move on.
“Farewell Alexander! Farewell, my beloved husband.”
“Farewell, Beauty!” She heard his voice. (PG. 227)
She is then sold as a slave, to Murad. And she’s back with Satan. After a quick argument, but it takes almost no time. I never thought I’d say this, but Orhan was the best option.
“I will not be Sultan Murad’s whore!” (PG. 244) Sorry, chica but you kind of already were his whore.
Part IV – Adora & Satan (Murad)
At first, Adora is rather determined not to give Murad what he wants, but as the past forsees it doesn’t last very long. Then it takes about five seconds, maybe a page or two to become pregnant. Some months later, Adora gives birth to Murad’s heir Bajazet (Bayezid).
And in that single moment, before the pleasure claimed her completely, she knew she had conceived a son. (PG. 269)
He smiled at her lovingly. “Being full of my seed has not dulled your clever Greek powers of reasoning.” “I had not heard that carrying a child in the womb shutoff the brain, my lord.”He laughed. “Your pretty tongue is as always, my dove, overly saucy.” She laughed back. “Would you truly have me be as those vapid creatures who populate your bed these nights? She lowered her eyes and slipped awkwardly to her knees. “Yeth my lord,” she lisped in brutally stunning imitation of one of his favorites. “Whatever my lord have sath. Each word from hith mouth ith a dewdrop of wisdom, my lord.” (PG. 274-275)
“Don’t!” He looked at her sharply, and she blushingly confessed. “It makes me hunger for you, my lord, and you know that it is now forbidden me.”
“I hunger for you too, Adora.” He said gravely. (PG. 276)
More weird descriptions of Murad getting his pleasure by blowjobs, or whatnot.
The midwife Fatima is fabulous. Bayezid is born, and they roast Helena and John, by naming him after a relative who tried to take Constantinople.* John thinks it’s funny, and Helena doesn’t. Typical.
*-Bayezid I, did try and take Constantinople, unsuccessfully. So I think this was the compromise on Bertrice’s part.
And Murad, being the selfish satanic creature he is, demands that he gets priority over Theadora’s milk, instead of the baby, who needs it.
His voice was husky when he said it.”In six weeks you will be purified. See the boy has a wet nurse by then. I will not share you with anyone, not even my son.” (PG. 286)
Adora has two more children, twin boys, Orhan and Osman. And she learns how to belly dance, and there was a very “sexual Bellydance/turned into sex thing between Murad and Adora, that I didn’t need to read about. It involves, him calling her bitch.
Next, we discover that Murad has a bastard son named Cuntuz, with his former side hoe, Mara. Who he gave some gold and never saw her again after she told him she was pregnant. Cuntuz is a great dude (not). He has a lot of disdain for his infidel father and was raised by his grandparents, who make him hate both his parents and praise them. Cuntuz (and Mara) come to court, hoping to become the heir, and his father’s favorite, supported by Helena. Naturally, Adora is siked (not). Also, Cuntuz and Helena have a mild sex scene, that made me want to douse my eyes in holy water. Then Cuntuz and Helena’s son, Andronicus become besties, and Helena isn’t very happy.
Murad gets another side hoe, Princess Thamar. Her father took notes from Adora’s father and demands that Murad impregnate her. Oh, and Thamar is fifteen, which is just so much better than thirteen (not really). That makes Theadora really happy, again not really, though she becomes pregnant too. That means there is yet another cringy rape scene between Thamar and Murad. I didn’t need that, at all.
*is raping Thamar*
*screams Adora’s name*
A few months later, Thamar gives Murad a second son, Yakub. And top of the trifecta, Halil and Alexis have a incest baby. Adora is kinded of upset about that.
“I don’t suppose then, now would be a good time to tell you, that you are to become a grandmother?”
“Halil! How could you? You’re sixteen.”
“But Alexis is almost eighteen, mother, and very eager to begin our family. She is such an adorable creature that I could not refuse her. And,” his eyes twinkled, “quite frankly, I enjoyed filling her request by filling her belly.” (PG. 325)
And then she freaks out about being a grandmother before the age of 30. Which is possible, but rare.
“Murad called Thamar his kitten, and Theadora is his tigress.” (PG. 324) Ironically, enough Tahmar and Adora end up having lots of cat fights, including who is the more important Kadin.*
*- to be clear, Kadin is an Ottoman term meaning a lady of the harem, but it was not used as a title until around the reign of Murad III. The term Khatun or Hatun was used prior.
Adora is convinced that she is having another son, “I only birth to boys!” But surprise, her last child is a girl, named Janfeda.
Theadora, when she sees her daughter:
Adora: “Get a wetnurse for it,” she commanded. “I only give suckle to princes, not female brats!”
Fatima: “You’re three boys will spoil her terribly.
Murad: “And so will her father.”
Adora: “You are not displeased then?”
Murad: “No my dove, I am delighted.”
Cuntuz decides to be a terrible person, takes his younger brother’s (minus Yakub) into the woods, and proceeds to attempt to murder them all. Osman dies, and Orhan is left unconscious. Bayezid makes it back to inform the guards and his father what happened. Cuntuz seeks asylum with Helena but not long after he and Andronicus are punished by getting vinegar water poured in their eyes. Then Bayezid slays and beheads Cuntuz all by himself.
“Farewell dog!” He brought it down swiftly and Cuntuz’s head tumbled into the basket face up. (Pg. 344)
But the real winner of that scene is Orhan, who has the most amazing deaths scene. Not quite as artsy or dramatic as his namesakes, but still 10/10
But at dawn, Prince Orhan opened his eyes, she at his parents and Bayezid, and said, “I have to go know, Mother. Osman is calling me.” And before anyone could say a word, the boy died. (PG. 332)
Can I please die like that too? I was laughing way to hard.
“I will avenge them mother, I promise.”
“Yes, ” she said. “Avenge them.” (PG. 333)
Encouraging violence from a young age. Yes, my favorite.
Helena gets ratted on by her husband, and it was one of the few highlights.
John Palaeologi was furious. The emperor turned purpled with ager and choked. “either I am mad,” he said, “or you are!”
Bayezid is married to a German Princess Zubeyda. And even during the wedding, Thamar and Adora cannot stop catfighting. It needs to stop. Like Zubeyda wants Bayezid to come to her, not the other way and Thamar doesn’t like it.
“If that chit were marrying my son, I would not allow that.”
“But she’s not married to your son. She’s married to mine.” (PG. 50)
Then Halil decides to be really helpful and gives Bayezid some really shitty advice.
“But let the girl understand who is the real master, or else your married life will be a battle. Beat if necessary.” (PG. 52)
Then we meet, the only character I actually liked, Manuel Palaeologi. He’s amazing. He get’s married, by Theadora. Murad goes on some campaigns. Sexy time. Helena plots with Thamar, it goes to shit.
Bayezid was horrified o see his parents wrestling together amid the pillows. He was a grown man with a pregnant wife and did not think of his mother and father as being physical with each other. To be sure, his father kept a hare, and his mother was yet young- but they were his parents! “Scoundrel!’ Adora hissed, yanking Murad’s thick silver-black hair. “Witch,” murmured the sultan,” how is it you still have the ability to inflame me?” “My vast age has given me the power to stir the watery blood of an older man!” She retorted wickedly. Flushing crimson, Prince Bayezid fled the room. His parents never noticed that he had gone. (PG. 387-388)
Bayezid and his wife have four sons, Suleiman, Isa, Musa & Kasim. But he starts seeing this other woman, Despina on the side. And they are like meant for each other. They later have Bayezid’s heir, Mehmed, together. Also, Despina is Thamar’s cousin.
As I forgot to mention, Murad takes Adrianople and turns it into Edirne, the Ottoman Capital. Also, Murad marries both Adora & Thamar. Then he goes on another campaign but brings Adora and his son’s along. Someone stabs him, and he dies, in Theadora’s arms.
Heedless, Adora cradled her husband in her arms. “Murad, my love!” She sobbed. He struggled to speak, his face while, the light in his eyes fading rapidly. “Forgive… the cruelties. I love you, Adora….” “I know, my love! I know. Do not speak.” A sad smile flickered across his face. “Kiss me farewell, my dove.” She bent her wet face and touched his cooling lips with hers. “peaches,” he said weakly. “You smell of peaches,” and then he fell back in her arms, his black eyes open and sightless. (PG. 400)
Why do they always die in the same dramatic fashion? I want to die like that.
Bayezid becomes Sultan. Yakub was miraculously killed in battle, leaving the playing field wide open for Bayezid.
Theadora has a moment with her grandson, Mehmed. She recalls a prophecy* that Mehmed will take Constantinople.
*-a prophecy that doesn’t exist. Yes, Mehmed II took the city which is now Istanbul, but there was no prophecy. Everyone thought he was crazy and he proved them wrong.
She would not be just another widowed, honored but entirely forgotten. She was still in the center of history. (PG. 404)
Adora is back in the orchard where she first met Murad. She is ninety. She outlived all three uses, her children, and her grandson Mehmed. Bayezid destroyed the empire Murad built. She basically is in heaven and she sees Murad there.
“Come dove,” he smiled holding out a hand to her. “It is time for you to go.” her eyes filled with tears. “I have waited so long for you to come to me.” Reaching out she took his hand.
“I know, dove. Come on now. it’s not far now.” And without question she went with him, pausing only a moment to gaze at two nuns, who with flustered cries, were now bent over the crumpled body of the silver-haired woman. (PG. 409)
FUCK YES. I finally finished summarizing that entire book plot. That took hours.
[randomized thoughts & updates on the experiance]
Theodora is her own stepmother-in-law. Yes, it’s possible. Since she was married to Orhan, that makes Murad her stepson, and then later when she married him, which makes her own stepmother-in-law. It’s kind of fucked up.
Theodora reminds you every five minutes, or at least twice every page of how she is a rich and privileged princess. It get’s tiring quickly.
There are fucking janissaries, mentioned during Orhan’s reign. And it drove me crazy. The Janissaries, the ottoman militia, weren’t formed until 1363, during the reign of Murad. They didn’t exist during the reign of Orhan
During that rape scene between Orhan and Adora, I was like: WTF did I just read? I think I’m going to be scared for the rest of my life. She just watched her husband get a blowjob by a servant before there supposed to consummate the marriage. Well okay then.
The author used way too many ! exclamation points. It got really tiring. You can’t be that excited all the time. It’s not possible.
Murad Beg? That is a typo. It would be Murad Bey. Get it right.
Bertice obviously attempted to do research, but only used Wikipedia. Basically, all the characters are real people (most of them at least). But then she fucked up the historical plot, which bothers me.
I screamed when this book turned into Twilight. That is creepy and not a good way to start any relationship.
And Jandefa is the most patriotic baby ever she has a Turkish flag birthmark.
After finally watching Wonder Woman this book makes 50 Shades look like good literature.
The word “manroot” is used constantly, and it never gets any better.
But father Manuel is actually the best thing ever. When his wife dies, he actually takes care of his daughter. How remarkable! How rare!
“Then she surprised him by speaking, and her voice was so sweet that his hot seed thundered into the hidden valley of her womb. (PG. 177).
I swear SJM wrote that line, and I never want to hear anything remotely like that ever again in my life.
This book is disgusting and should have never been published. I will not be reading any more Bertice Small books, and I hope that you for your own sake, will refrain from reading this book.
P.S Happy Friday the 13th!
Petyr Baeish Books © 2017 by Tova Portmann-Bown