Tell Them of Kings

TELL THEM OF BATTLES, KINGS, AND ELEPHANTS


In 1506, Michelangelo—a young but already renowned sculptor—is invited by the sultan of Constantinople to design a bridge over the Golden Horn. The sultan has offered, alongside an enormous payment, the promise of immortality, since Leonardo da Vinci’s design was rejected: “You will surpass him in glory if you accept, for you will succeed where he has failed, and you will give the world a monument without equal.”

Michelangelo, after some hesitation, flees Rome and an irritated Pope Julius II—whose commission he leaves unfinished—and arrives in Constantinople for this truly epic project. Once there, he explores the beauty and wonder of the Ottoman Empire,

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In 1506, Michelangelo—a young but already renowned sculptor—is invited by the sultan of Constantinople to design a bridge over the Golden Horn. The sultan has offered, alongside an enormous payment, the promise of immortality, since Leonardo da Vinci’s design was rejected: “You will surpass him in glory if you accept, for you will succeed where he has failed, and you will give the world a monument without equal.”

Michelangelo, after some hesitation, flees Rome and an irritated Pope Julius II—whose commission he leaves unfinished—and arrives in Constantinople for this truly epic project. Once there, he explores the beauty and wonder of the Ottoman Empire, sketching and describing his impressions along the way, and becomes immersed in cloak-and-dagger palace intrigues as he struggles to create what could be his greatest architectural masterwork.

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants—constructed from real historical fragments—is a thrilling page-turner about why stories are told, why bridges are built, and how seemingly unmatched pieces, seen from the opposite sides of civilization, can mirror one another.

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  • New Directions
  • Hardcover
  • November 2018
  • 144 Pages
  • 9780811227049

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$19.95

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About Mathias Énard

MMathias Enard credit Marc Melkiathias Énard is the award-winning author of Zone and Street of Thieves, and a translator from Persian and Arabic. He won the Prix Goncourt in 2015 for Compass.

Praise

“A historical novel of exquisite beauty.” Publishers Weekly

“Necessary — no one writes like Mathias Énard.” —Francine Prose

“Énard fuses recollection and scholarly digression into a swirling, hypnotic, stream-of-consciousness narration.” —The Wall Street Journal

“All of Énard’s books share the hope of transposing prose into the empyrean of pure sound, where words can never correspond to stable meanings. He’s the composer of a discomposing age.” —Joshua Cohen, The New York Times Book Review