An Excerpt from Reign of the Favored Women:
Andrea considered his options. He would go and plead peace before the Divan with such power and logic that Sofia would throw all foolish Turkish convention aside and pull back the curtain of the Eye of the Sultan. For, of course, she would be there and, no less than the viziers, be won by his speech. She would leap from there into his waiting arms. . .
After that, what should happen was not so clear. Yes, there was the problem of the room and a courtyard outside filled with janissaries. But somehow that seemed a negligible factor, once he had her in his arms.
Then there was the scenario in which he stormed the palace walls almost single-handedly, killed the mad old Sultan and then penetrated the forbidden holy of holies. There she (he would almost write it She--divine) would be lying in sorrow and languor on a crimson couch, her golden hair like fire in luscious disarray. She would reach long, white arms out to him, her liberator, her deliverer, her true love. Again, he need not dream further than this point.
Andrea blew on his hands to keep them flexible. They must be able to curl firmly around the hilt of his dagger.
More elegant settings still stoked the fire of his brain, but practicality had whittled it down to this: an alley beside the little neighborhood mosque-converted-from-a-church a stone's throw from the palace of the Grand Vizier. If he shifted just right, Andrea could catch a glimpse of Sofia's sedan through the wrought-iron gates.
A sharp wind scudded straight off the Black Sea to attack his fingers and toes. It put out the moon as easily as one of his bravos had put out the light at the end of the alley just after the lamplighter had passed. Now the only illumination came through the heavy curtains drawn over the second-story lattices of the closest homes.
The call to evening prayers directly over his head brought a small congregation to the mosque. Andrea found the men who filed past his hiding place slightly unnerving, being predominantly janissaries from the exercise field. Each man carried his own rug under his arm like an open display of his soul. Andrea felt a strong urge to join them, if only for the better concealment of his own soul, one among many. But public devotion would soon make way for the privacy of tents and hearthstones.
Already the domestic miracle of fresh-baked bread served with cabbage and earthy chickpeas seeped its scent along with a warm, greasy light through the lattice stars and the curtains overhead.