The Sultan’s Favorite is a book that I’ve known about for years, and I’ve always meant to read it, but I kept putting it off in favor of other Phantom books. I typically favor Erik-Christine books and modern retellings, but at the prompting of many fellow Phans, I finally decided to give this one a read.
I’d heard nothing but great things about it from other Phans, and they were not wrong! I wish I’d read this book much sooner. It has soared to the top of my list of phavorite Phantom books. It’s that good!
One of the most distinctive aspects about this novel is the setting. It’s set in the dangerous world of the Ottoman Empire. It’s a life-after-the-Paris-Opera-House type of story. Erik has been rejected by Christine. He’s bitter and feels like he’ll never love again, but somehow the will to survive keeps him going. He’s channeled all his passion into his architecture. Can you guess? His masterpiece is to build a beautiful palace for the sultan and his wives.
Speaking of the Sultan’s wives…
Alexandria is the heroine of this book, and if you haven’t guessed it already, she is the sultan’s favorite. The sultan has other wives, but Alexandria becomes his favorite. She is different from the other women in that she is highly intelligent and doesn’t live only to serve the sultan. While she’s not thrilled about being married to a man who has other wives, she’s resigned to do her duty to protect her deceased husband’s empire.
It’s not long before our Phantom finds himself drawn inexplicably to her as well…a dangerous situation indeed.
Part of what is so great about this book is the way the author makes us feel for the sultan too. By all rights, we should hate him. He has more than one wife. Alexandria deserves so much better. Yet the author explains him in such a way that you come to realize how tied he is by his customs. It seems that he truly does love Alexandria, and I must admit that a time or two I even found myself rooting for him. Ironic that the sultan actually has much in common with Erik back in his Phantom days at the Opera Populaire. You’ll see what I mean…
The Phantom…I LOVED how Anne totally got the Phantom’s character. She nailed him. He is moody and irritable. He can be downright mean. Yet underneath his hard exterior is a heart that beats and feels more than anyone knows. This is the Phantom that I look for when I read Phantom books — the one that can make your heart skip beats with his dangerous allure.
Masterfully woven together, The Sultan’s Favorite is a must-read for all Phantom Phans. It gives us a viable ending to the Phantom’s tale. It’s the sequel that we wish would have really happened.
About the Author
Anne Burnside is the author of this compelling tale. She’s totally down-to-earth and a joy to chat with. If you’d like to learn a bit more about her, check out this interview she did on Blog Talk Radio: All Things Phantom.