“The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie

“Witchcraft requires no potions, familiar spirits or magic wands. Language upon a silvered tongue affords enchantment enough.”

So writes Salman Rushdie in his new book “The Enchantress of Florence”, and sure enough the novel glitters with Rushie’s unique flow of exotic people, palaces, duels, and wild love affairs. The story leaps from kingdom to kingdom. Rushdie is as much at home in Scotland as in Persia . His hero, a tall, blonde European calling himself “Mogor dell’Amore” , comes to the court of the Grand Mughal and claims to be the child of a lost Mughal princess. He traces his ancestry back to a Florentine soldier of fortune. From then on the two capitals – Florence and the Mughal capital – are bound in a story of intrigue that includes Niccolo Machiavelli.

Rushdie leaves plenty of mystery. But the pleasure of reading his book leaves you gasping at his amazing knowledge of so many countries, so much history, so much inter-weaving.

Rushdie is best-known for his “Midnight’s Children” which won the prize for best novel to have won the Booker prize in its first 25 years. He was knighted inJuly 2007 and lives in England. The cover of this new book is quite beautiful, and gives a good idea of the far-flung enchantment to be found inside.

Review by Anne McDougall