Series: Written as Stephen Hockaby
for John Stephen-Michael de la Naye, his education into the cruel and sobering realities of the world begins early. While just a boy traveling to Jerusalem on a religious pilgrimage, his galley is attacked by Moslem pirates, his mother is killed, and John becomes a prisoner and slave to serve a sultan in Constantinople. Under the kind mentorship of Mourad Bashik, a soldier and factotum of the sultan, John begins to learn about palace life within the walls of the seraglio, with its endless intrigues and its frequent execution of concubines and others who have fallen out of favor. But Mourad, acting as father to the orphaned boy, always treats John compassionately and fairly, and it is for this reason that John chooses to make his escape only after the kind soldier has died, so recriminations could not fall on him. With a fellow prisoner named Pablo, John bravely descends into the well where the executed bodies are tossed, assuming that the current carries all that enter it to the Bosphorus.
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