When Jahan travels to 16th-century Istanbul as a stowaway carrying the gift of a white elephant for the sultan, little does he know the journey on which he is about to embark. As he settles into life in Istanbul, Jahan's fortunes are shaped by chance encounters. In the palace gardens he meets Mihrimah, the beautiful and mischievous princess, and loses his heart in an instant. Later he catches the eye of Grand Architect Sinan, who chooses Jahan as his apprentice and changes the young boy's destiny forever. Full of magic, colour and societal upheaval in the architectural renaissance of Turkey, this is the sweeping tale of plagues, wars, forbidden romance and the simple love between a boy and his elephant.