The Aviary Gate is a story set in both present day and 1599 Constantinople. Celia is the daughter of an English merchant who is taken captive by Ottomans to become a slave in the sultan's harem. In present day Oxford, Elizabeth is a graduate student who stumbled upon part of a narrative describing Celia's time in the harem. The search for the remainder of Celia's story takes Elizabeth all the way to Istanbul.
Jumping back and forth through time is something many writers attempt but in The Aviary Gate, Elizabeth's progress in her search for the rest of the narrative did nothing to drive the story. Many of Hickman's characters are complicated and interesting but Elizabeth is not. She spends most of the story moping over a guy who treats her badly. Elizabeth's interludes really only served to halt the pace of the book. Its my opinion that The Aviary Gate would have been just as good without Elizabeth.
The part of the story which took place in Constantinople was full of suspense and intrigue. I'd recommend skipping the present day interludes altogether, you won't miss anything important to the story. If you enjoy stories told in the past/present format I'd recommend People of the Book.
In the beginning, I loved "The Aviary Gate". It captured my attention immediately. Well, parts of it did. "The Aviary Gate" is told from two perspectives: one that takes place in the present day, and one that takes place in the 16th century Ottoman Empire. I was not that interested in the present day side of things until about half way through the book when it finally caught up to the parts that were taking place in the 16th century.
Because of the dual plot lines, it is a bit difficult to explain the story, but here goes. In present day England, Elizabeth finds a narrative that tells of a woman being held as a slave in the 16th century Ottoman Empire. She becomes fascinated. So captivated in fact that she goes to Istanbul herself to see what she can find out.
In Constantinople in 1599, Celia is trying to find out all she can about her fiancÃ© and his connection with the poisoning of the chief black eunuch. In doing so, she gets caught up in a plot of murder, revenge, and rebellion.
I really enjoyed the beginning of "The Aviary Gate". It was the ending I didn't like. It felt, to me, as if nothing was resolved for the reader or the characters. I guess I was disappointed because I liked the beginning so much. But, you need to form your own opinion.
A bit of a spoiler review.
I really enjoyed this book,it was interesting and well paced-I had a hard time putting it down and I loved the flip-flop between the centuries. The characters are well developed and likable. I will say I cried at the end... a lot! I was disappointed in the ending, and yet it made the book more realistic and memorable.
Very interesting book, coulnd't put it down, anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a bit of truth will enjoy reading this book.
I loved this book! The story moves back and forth from present day to 1599, but it flows really well. It's an interesting story. ****
A bit underwhelming of a story, but I definitely give an "A" for effort. The back and forth between present and past tense was neat, but there wasn't really any big twist or enough historic detail like the text was trying to lead on. Not really much of a plot either for the first two hundred pages. I really liked Hickman's descriptive style; it definitely helped you transport a bit between scenes.