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This is the second time in my life that I stopped reading a book midway After 3 years of it just sitting on my bedside table I think it is safe to say I ve given up on this book.That chapters alternate between the author s first person accounts, which I found to be so self indulgent and tedious, and a historical fiction, which was interesting at first bit quickly became banal What annoyed me most were the first person chapters because they just seemed to focus on how many famous friends the author had and how well connected he is Puke worthy. i VERY RARELY GIVE UP ON A BOOK, this is the exception I just didn t like or get all the philosophising by the author in alternate chapters so just read the historical ones These were so detached and impersonal that I found I didn t care what happened The author had said the subject was murdered in the first page or so anyway I really wanted to find out about this time and place but not from this book PS no one else in my book group finished it either, even missing the philosophy chapters out like I did. extraordinary book that covered a part of history that I knew nothing about 16th century Ottoman empire time two young men , one Bosnian Serb and one Greek, become hugely important Frst Vizier and Chief Architect respectively in the court of several Sultans, although from very humble origins they were taken as young boys to be bought up in a caravansery and then the court in Istanbul Their skills and cunning were immense and they managed to achieve great things without being murdered in jealousy Sokolovic Sokollu Mehmet Pasha is in fact murdered at the end of his life They build incrdible mosques, bridges and palaces for their leaders, in Istanbul and Belgrade and run campaigns in battle to extend the Ottoman Empire s reach Its wonderful to then look u in Wikipaedia and find all the facts there The book is deeper than just the narration of their loives, as the author mixes up the chapters with a conversation he is continuously having with Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk and sometimes other authors from across the world, some of whom I have never heard of about life, religion, cleverness, subtlety, fame and human value these chapters are hard to read but fascinating. ^Download ✕ Hamam Balkania ☟ This Is A Book That Lives In Two Parts One Set In The Ottoman Empire Of The Th Century, And The Other In Our Own St Century Reality Here We Have The Story Of Two Friends, Both Taken As Children From Their Homes And Inducted Into The Turkish Sultan S Private Guard Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, The Serbian Shepherd Boy Who Rose To The Position Of Grand Vizier And Koca Mimar Sinan, The Michelangelo Of The East Between Them They Represent Both Destruction And Creation, While At The Same Time Providing Us With A Harrowing Insight Into The Heart Of Religion And Identity Back In Our Own Time, We Hear The Voice Of The Author, Sharing With Us His Experiences In The Modern World, And His Musings On Faith, Identity And Nation This Is A Truly Ambitious Book That Rewards The Reader With Insights Into Some Of The Great Questions Of Our Time