The Mapmaker's Daughter, a historical novel set in the 16th century, is the confession of Nurbanu, born Cecilia Baffo Veniero—the mesmerizing, illegitimate Venetian who became the most powerful woman in the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
Narrating the spectacular story of her rise to the pinnacle of imperial power, Queen Mother Nurbanu, on her sickbed, is determined to understand how her bond with the greatest of all Ottoman sultans, Suleiman the Magnificent, shaped her destiny - not only as the wife of his successor but as the appointed enforcer of one of the Empire's most crucial and shocking laws. Nurbanu spares nothing as she dissects the desires and motives that have propelled and harmed her; as she considers her role as devoted and manipulative mother; as she reckons her relations with the women of the Harem; and as she details the fate of the most sophisticated observatory in the world. Nurbanu sets out to "see" the causes and effects of her loves and choices, and she succeeds by means of unflinching candor - right up to the last shattering revelation.
“Voice—the great, elusive necessity in all historical fiction—is rapturous and irresistible in The Mapmaker's Daughter. Katherine Hughes's novel just seems to talk to us, and in so doing makes these titanic events seem human and natural, thus all-the-more preoccupying. ” – Richard Ford
Katherine Nouri Hughes, Iraqi-Irish by birth, attended Princeton University where she received a Masters Degree in Near Eastern Studies and where she serves on that department’s advisory council. She has published two books on K-12 education, was a communications executive in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and serves on the boards of the American University in Cairo, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and WNET/13, the public television station. Her husband, Robert Del Tufo, former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General of New Jersey, died in 2016. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey and has two daughters and two grandchildren. The Mapmaker’s Daughter is her first novel.
Elizabeth Hawes is the author of Camus, A Romance and New York, New York: How the Apartment House Transformed the Life of the City, 1869-1930. A former staff member and a contributor to The New Yorker, she has also written for The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, The Nation, and numerous other publications.