Sultanas Legacy: A Novel of Moorish Spain
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To ask other readers questions about Sultana's Legacy , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 13, Rick F. Fatima must preserve the legacy of her forefathers at all co "In thirteenth-century Moorish Spain, the Sultanate of Granada faces a bleak future, as a tyrant seizes control. Sultana's Legacy by Lisa Yarde is a welcome addition to the historical fiction genre.
This is a very well written and well researched novel, with several plots, each well constructed to form a whole and characters that run the gamut from wise and pure to genuine evil. The main character, Fatima, although born to a powerful man, is so well written, so complex, that the reader is able to connect to her, a very impressive feat for a character living in the 13th Century.
Moorish controlled Spain is a facinating period in world history, yet not a common time in which to base a novel. Under the superb writing skills of Lisa Yarde, both locations and atmosphere ring so very true. Sultana's Legacy is both an entertaining and emotional read - and also quite an informative one as well. Who could ask for anything more from a novel? A winner from a terrific writer!! Claudia Arregui rated it it was amazing Jan 09, Kathy Dough rated it it was amazing Apr 19, Glenda G Mattes rated it it was amazing Jun 02, Pablo De rated it it was amazing Dec 17, Julia Try rated it it was amazing Jan 03, Lucila Basanisi rated it it was amazing Sep 02, Paula rated it it was amazing Feb 24, To Lorca, Granadinos are a people caught between east and west, between an oriental and an occidental sensibility.
The Muslim legacy, the great Alhambra, is moored above the city like a ship, an ornate royal barque, the plain hull of the walls giving no hint of the glamorous state rooms within. At most hours, it seems safely harboured in the city it once ruled, but at certain times, when mists are curling up the valley of the Darro on a winter's evening, the old palace becomes an ethereal presence, floating above the rooftops, untethered to time or place. The crows' nest is the Torre de la Vela, on the prow of the oldest fortified part of the palace.
By the entrance is the famous quotation from the Mexican poet Icaza: ''Nothing in life is worse than being blind in Granada. Granada was washed in amber light. In the midst of the red-tiled roofs was the cathedral, surrounded by skirts of chapel and buttresses.
Beyond the city, the Vega plain stretched away to the Sierra Nevada. The tower bell once regulated the operation of the irrigation channels built by the Moors. These days it rings only on January 2 to celebrate the anniversary of their expulsion. The Alhambra walls climb the ridge behind in the company of cypresses and poplars. But before one gets to the Nasrid Palace, there is the small matter of Charles V. The grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, Charles had been provided for in various wills.
He had been left most of Europe as well as a vast slice of the New World.
Charles was the original Europhile. He was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor in His territories were neither an empire, nor Roman, nor particularly holy. On the Alhambra hill, Charles planted the Christian flag in the form of a huge Renaissance palace which sits among the older Muslim buildings with all the self-assurance of Ann Widdecombe at a rave.
Charles's palace was a rebuke to the perceived frivolity of the Moorish palaces around it. Grand, formal and more than a little severe, it succeeds only in appearing dull. One falls into the older oriental palaces with a sense of unbuttoned relief. Tile mosaics, carved woodwork and ornate sculpted stucco run riot over every surface.
Their rhythms, the busy geometry of their patterns, have a curiously soothing effect. This is a building of sensation, of delight, of a luxuriant physicality. Disraeli called the Alhambra ''the most delicate and fantastic creation that sprang up on a summer night in a fairytale".
As you pass from room to pillared portico to fountained courtyard, it begins to work a slow seduction. Progressing through the palaces, from the public reception rooms to the private charms of the seraglio, is like a series of conjuring tricks: a modest doorway, a beautiful but innocuous passageway, the sleight of hand of an unexpected turn and then suddenly the Court of the Myrtles with its long, reflecting pool and its cool porticoes.
The other great revelation of the Alhambra hill is the Generalife, the Gardens of the Architect. Coming from the dry lands of North Africa, the Moors delighted in water; their greatest contributions to Spain were irrigation techniques and gardens. An exquisite composition of pavilions and terraces, trees and plants of every description, patios and water, the Generalife is gardening at its most gushingly romantic.
One of the more famous features is the Escalera de Agua, in which water flows down through the curved tops of the balustrades that flank the stone staircase. The Venetian Ambassador - who knew something about the aesthetic possibilities of water - raved about it on a visit to the Alhambra in I went to visit the Catholic conquerors of this Arabian Nights fantasy who lie buried in the cathedral below. The guide led me past a crucified Christ, dripping with blood, to the royal chapel, enclosed like a prison behind a wrought-iron grille.
The dour effigies of the two monarchs lie with their hands folded demurely on their chests. Isabella is looking away from her husband. By the terms of their surrender, the Muslims were to be allowed to practise their religion unmolested; but, once in power, the Catholic monarchs quickly abandoned this ruse.
By the altar you can see a relief of the forced baptism of the Moors, which began in Confident they had God on their side, Ferdinand and Isabella had no problem about including this record of their duplicity as part of their memorial. After the Alhambra, the main survivor of the Moorish era is the old quarter of Albaycin. Cobbled streets, most of them too narrow for cars, climb between whitewashed walls and cascades of bougainvillaea. Tiny squares, struggling to contain a fountain and a gnarled tree, offer views of the Alhambra.
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The houses here are known as carmens. The union occurred in when Fatima could have been as old as sixteen or as young as seven.
In the intervening years, her grandfather had died, and her father reigned. The small family moved there, where Fatima had at least one more son and three other unidentified children. If either man had sired heirs, those princes never succeeded their fathers. The next Sultan would prove much stronger than his predecessors, although no one might have anticipated his rise. In , he besieged his uncle just outside the capital and won. But not before he had imprisoned and exiled his own father, after rumors of treason. How did Fatima feel about these occurrences?
Despite any ill possible feelings she might have borne, after her husband died six years later, Fatima returned to her birthplace at Granada. She nurtured her grandchildren, at least four princes the eldest boys having been born in and respectively and two princesses, born of three mothers. As her eldest grandson assumed the throne, I speculated about her hopes for the future, yet they would not find fulfillment for he died violently too at the age of eighteen.
His younger brother succeeded him in , a child whose sole authority permitted him to select the food he wanted to eat at mealtimes.
Otherwise, Fatima dominated every aspect of his life.