Few characters stick with you even after the book is closed. The tragic hero that is Erik, from The Phantom of the Opera, is one of those characters that will revisit your heart and mind for some time to come. In Anne Burnside’s book The Sultan’s Favorite we catch up with our champion, Erik while he tries to rebuild his life after the horrifying events of the Opera Populare. This story finds Erik now in the Ottoman empire and chief architect to the Sultan. 

While constructing the new palace his work is derailed by the Sultan’s newest acquisition, Constantinople and the widow of it’s ruler, his third wife Alexandria. Because of her goodness and beauty it is not long before Alexandria becomes the handsome ruler’s favorite wife.  But being elevated in status does not come without it’s price, it is only by Erik’s quick thinking that an assassination attempt on Alexandria’s life is thwarted.

While Alexandria is no exception to Erik’s short temper, it is not long before the two

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become unlikely friends.  It is Alexandria’s thirst for knowledge in a world where a women’s education is forbidden, that intrigues Erik. So when the duo is forced to work together during the construction of her opulent quarters within the new palace, he finds himself falling for this unique creature. When the Sultan takes an trip to visit his new city events turn tragic, and there is no other to call to the rescue but Red Death himself.

The Sultan’s Favorite is a story of a woman who must learn to live within her new world of rules and limitations, and our Opera Ghost’s battle with his feelings over another hopeless love affair. Anne Burnside’s depiction of Erik is one that would make Leroux proud, as she captures the fire and passion that has made The Phantom so infamous. Ms. Burnside has resurrected  our love for the underdog who we love to cheer for, the monster behind the mask, and has given us another chance to see him fight for love.  This book is a worthy sequel to the first novel, and a pure joy to read, and allows us to visit a character who has stolen our hearts again.