A Tudor Turk is a far sweeping and exciting historical adventure story taking us from 16th century Istanbul, to the Rialto Bridge in Venice, the inns of Canterbury, the streets of London and the court of Elizabeth 1.
The two lead characters Will and Awa are very appealing though quite different. The first few chapters outline their separate stories. Will Ryde, snatched at the age of five from a poor but happy life in London with his seamstress mother becomes a slave, firstly in the workshop of a swordsmith in Marrakesh and then as a galley slave on a Moroccan ship. Awa Maryam Al Jameel was a girl from a noble, educated West African family, also captured and used to entertain crowds in gladiatorial combat due to her impressive skills as a swordswoman. When circumstances bring them together, they are selected as part an undercover group of warriors tasked with saving a precious artefact, the staff Moses used to part the Red Sea which had been stolen from Sultan Murad III of Istanbul. Hence follows a rip-roaring adventure with some very evil villains and many gory fight scenes. Definitely not a story for the faint hearted.
This book provides an interesting and broader than usual perspective on the world during the reign of Elizabeth 1; a time in which the English Queen seeks to make links with Sultan Murad, powerful ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Through this story and its cast of characters East meets West and rich meets poor providing windows into very different worlds and demonstrating, in particular through the two main characters, how trust, collaboration and a sense of shared purpose bring people together.
This is the first of a series and the story ends with a clear indication there is plenty more adventure to come.