Prepare for a long straight sitting! In imaginary places not far removed from Renaissance Europe and Turkey, ordinary people are pushed towards extraordinary destinies. How they cope, evolve and pay the price is what we are made to care about. And I cared so much I didn't want the story to end ...
He was painfully aware, amid everything else, that he was expected to paint the portrait of the ruler who could fairly be called the most important man in the world. Pero's only formal portrait of anyone significant had been burned by his subject so her husband would never see it.
He was also expected to spy. He had heard tales of what the Osmanlis did to spies if they were discovered. There was another thing he'd been asked to do. He tried not to think about that.
Before rising he prayed, as always, for the souls of his mother and father, that they might be with Jad in light. He could have used his father's counsel now, he thought. It was sometimes difficult to accept that he was alone, deemed a man in his own right.