Sex and friendship, ambition and political intrigue, secrets and betrayal will set the fate of two slaves— Jamīla and Abimelech—in this ground-breaking debut novel.
Inspired by the only existing first-person narrative of an Abyssinian slave in Iran, Jamīla Habashī, In the Palace of Flowers recreates the opulent Persian royal court of the Qajars at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a precarious time of growing public dissent, foreign interference from the Russians and British, and the problem of an aging ruler and his unsuitable heir.
Torn away from their families, Jamila, a concubine, and Abimelech, a eunuch, now serve at the whims of the royal family, only too aware of their own insignificance in the eyes of their masters. Abimelech and Jamila’s quest to take control over their lives and find meaning leads to them navigating the dangerous politics of the royal court, and to the radicals that lie beyond its walls.
Richly textured and elegantly written, at its heart In The Palace of Flowers is a novel about the fear of being forgotten.
In The Palace of Flowers is an atmospheric historical novel about Jamila, an Abyssinian slave, whose fear of being forgotten, of being irrelevant, sets her and Abimelech, a fellow slave and a eunuch, on a path to find meaning, navigating the dangerous and deadly politics of the royal court. Princewill vividly recreates the court of the Iranian Shah in the 1890s, a precarious time of growing public dissent, foreign interference from the Russians and British, and the problem of an ageing ruler with an unsuitable heir. Love, friendship and the bitter politics within the harem, the court and the Shah’s sons and advisors will set the fate of these two slaves.