The extraordinary story of the Russian slave girl Roxelana, who rose from the role of concubine to become the only queen in Ottoman history
In Empress of the East , historian Leslie Peirce tells the remarkable story of a Christian slave girl, Roxelana, who was abducted by warriors at age twelve from her Ruthenian homeland, and brought to the harem of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent in Constantinople. Suleiman became besotted with her, and forsook all other mistresses. Then, in an unprecedented step, he made her the first and only queen in the Ottoman court. Although shrouded in scandal, the canny and sophisticated Roxelana became a shrewd diplomat and administrator, who helped Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in which women - from Queen Elizabeth to Catherine de Medici - increasingly held the reins of power.
In Empress of the East , Pierce reveals the true history of an elusive figure who pushed the Ottoman Empire towards modernity.