21604726Fifteen-year-old Hassan returns to his native Persia in search of adventure, but emotionally unprepared for a chance encounter that will change his life.
Saved from a degrading forced marriage, sixteen-year-old Princess Doquz is bent on revenge for her humiliation.
With the rebel commander, Ahmed Sabbah, she declares war on the Mongol Il-khanate. Her daring and her skills in weaponry earn her a reputation as the Tiger Princess.
However, Doquz is reluctant to play the religious card that will help her brother Ghazan to the throne of Persia until a reunion with Hassan, her childhood companion, forces her to reappraise her objectives and her sexuality.
From Tabriz to the Valley of the Assassins, deep in the Alburz Mountains, Hassan and Doquz pursue their quest, unaware of secrets that can destroy them both … and Sabbah must break a solemn oath to save them.

I had this, what I would call a historical fiction, title on my Kindle for far too long. Years ago I started following this blog: Bookheathen Scribblings for Adrew’s book reviews, but swiftly found out he is, in fact, an author, so I decided to one day read The Tiger and the Cauldron, although I’m a bit embarrased that it took me years to get to it.

I mean, if you’ve had the chance to read Andrew’s reviews, you will know that he has a very tidy and sleek writing style. You will know that a novel of his will be as solid as they come. It is no surprise, then, that The Tiger and the Cauldron read like one of those classics you pick up from a library to read about distant lands with mysterious cultures.

I mean, Persia and Mongols don’t often end up on my in the midst of my reaing material. Least of all from AD 1295! Yes, this is a sequel to another book of Andrew’s – The Il-khan’s Wife – but I believe you can easily read noth as standalones.

So, what is it that we want from a good book? All we need are the following few ingredients…

Worldbuilding: As I mentioned, I don’t find myself in Persia often when I read books. In fact, I don’t think I ever have before. The Tiger and the Cauldron was constantly pulsing great atmospheric vibes. Not once did I feel confused about the places I was at during my reading journey… There were sandy deserts, horses, heat of the sun and magnificent castles as well as tents. Mountains and lakes with water to cool down in… Such small things, if you think of it, but in storytelling perspective, so important!

Characters: Our main characters Doquz and Hassan stand strong as individuals, quite different to each other and they gel well in the scenes where they are together. Some great twists with these two! In fact, I’m positive I gasped when a very important fact needed to be verified wich would hold huge implications for these two. I particularly enjoyed how Doquz, although through trauma, was the one with iron will and strong ‘take no prisoners’-kind of attitude, while Hassan came across slightly more sensitive, but presented no less ‘can do’ approach where required. The secondary characters are also nicely fleshed out and don’t dawdle about the story pointlessly. I like when every character is in the story for a reason, not simply for fluff.

Plot twists: there were quite a few of those. We all like to be taken by surprise when reading a book and in The Tiger and the Cauldron, the twists served the story progression nicely!

Story arc: Wholesome! That’s the word I would choose to describe the story from beginning to end. The book covers a lot, and yet it doesn’t bog the reader down with unnecessary detail whilst at the same time striking the balance with everything in a wholesome beginning-to-end manner. It’s the feeling when you finish book and feel that you have been taken on a journey and you have reached the destination. Wholesome.

I am really pleased with the overall feeling reading The Tiger and the Cauldron left me with. Time well spent in the company of a book!