Marco Roth in the New York Sun:
“The Enchantress of Florence” (Random House, 368 pages, $26) is a “Harry Potter”-ish restoration project of great intelligence and remarkable egoism, both of which are characteristic of its author. Although he sets his novel in the Florence of the Medicis and Machiavelli, in the Mughal court of Akbar the Great, and at the height of the Ottoman Empire, Salman Rushdie hasn’t written just any pedantic, research-obsessed “historical novel.” Instead of trying to give us the past as it really was, he’s tried to produce the very kind of “historical romance” that might have been passed among French, Italian, English, and Mughal courtiers of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a book to give them hours of “much languid play … in the curtained afternoons.” There are pirates, shipwrecks, hidden princesses, lost heirs, and magic mirrors. There are giants, epic battles, and potions that “facilitate one hundred consecutive ejaculations.” “In Andizhan, the pheasants grew so fat that four men could not finish a meal cooked from a single bird,” begins one chapter, and that note of superlative excess gives the tone of the whole.
More here. [Thanks to Asad Raza.]