Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

( 6 )


On the evening of September 17, 1992, eight leading members of the Iranian and Kurdish opposition had gathered at a little-known restaurant in Berlin when two darkly-clad men burst through the entrance. Within moments, the roar of a machine gun filled the air. Two rounds of fire and four single shots later, four of the men were dead. One of the survivors of that shooting, along with the widow of one of the victims and a handful of reporters, attorneys, and fellow exiles, began a crusade that would not only pit ...

See more details below
$19.95 price
(Save 20%)$25.00 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (38) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $1.99   
  • Used (32) from $1.99   
Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99 price
(Save 37%)$16.00 List Price


On the evening of September 17, 1992, eight leading members of the Iranian and Kurdish opposition had gathered at a little-known restaurant in Berlin when two darkly-clad men burst through the entrance. Within moments, the roar of a machine gun filled the air. Two rounds of fire and four single shots later, four of the men were dead. One of the survivors of that shooting, along with the widow of one of the victims and a handful of reporters, attorneys, and fellow exiles, began a crusade that would not only pit them against Tehran but against some of the greatest powers in Germany. When an undeterred federal prosecutor, and an endlessly patient chief judge, took over the case, a historic verdict followed which shook both Europe and Iran, and achieved something few could have predicted—justice. Roya Hakakian’s The Assassins of the Turquoise Palace is an incredible book of history and reportage, and an unforgettable narrative of heroism and justice.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hakakian's first book, Journey from the Land of No, told the author's story of her years growing up in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini. Her present work is an admirable, if somewhat overwritten, look at the September 17, 1992, terror killing of four Kurdish exiles who were holding a meeting in a small restaurant in Berlin. This crime resulted in a massive German investigation and an equally massive four-year trial that ended with guilty verdicts for the accused and, more importantly, a condemnation of Iran's leaders as the instigators of the murder plot. The author does a worthy job of presenting the facts through the eyes of the men who survived the shooting and the German authorities who prosecuted the case. Though the focus on Middle East politics should give this broad appeal, readers most interested may be the two million Iranian expatriates and the 150,000 who reside in Germany. The real heroes are not just the Kurdish dissidents but the men and women of Germany's legal community who fought against powerful diplomatic pressure in the interest of justice. (Sept.)
Time Magazine
"This is a brilliant, riveting book, with all the elements of a great thriller—a horrific crime, sociopathic villains, international intrigue, personal betrayals, a noble prosecutor and an honorable judge. And it is all too real: with remarkably comprehensive reporting and brisk, smart writing, Roya Hakakian has told a great story but, more important, she has made plain the lethal immorality at the heart of Iran's regime"--(Joe Klein)
60 Minutes
"Roya Hakakian is something rare: a poet turned investigative reporter. The outcome of this unusual fusion is a work of journalistic revelation, written so fluidly and gorgeously, it is a masterpiece."--(Lesley Stahl)
Kirkus Reviews

Riveting account of a multiple murder and trial that led to a paradigm shift in Europe's relations with post-revolutionary Iran.

On September 17, 1992, heavily armed assassins burst into a restaurant in a quiet immigrant enclave in Berlin, rudely interrupting a dinner honoring Sadegh Sharafkandi, a leader of a dissident Iranian-Kurdish political organization. Opening fire with automatic weapons and following with a series of single shots, they murdered Sharafkandi and three other Iranian and Kurdish activists. Although the chief assassin was never caught, three of his accomplices, one Iranian and two Lebanese men with connections to Hezbollah, were quickly taken into custody. The ensuing five-year trial, where the crimes of the Stasi were tried after Germany's reunification, were presided over by the same meticulously fair Judge Frithjof Kubsch who had overseen the sensitive Stasi trials. Hakakian (Journey from the Land of No:A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran, 2004) deploys all of her talents as a former producer at60 Minutesand a poet in her native Farsi to tell the human and political story behind the news. She closely follows the surviving family and friends of victim Noori Dekhordi, who immediately suspected that the orders for the assassinations came directly from the Iranian regime's top officials. Hakakian's novelistic narrative details the intrigues in the Iranian diaspora as the prosecution unearthed threads leading from Tehran to hundreds of murders and a plot to kill hundreds more around Europe in the 1980s and '90s. These findings caught the German government between Tehran's vengeful mullahs, whose interests it had represented in Europe in exchange for contracts with German businesses like Siemens, and the hundreds of thousands of Iranian dissidents who had settled in Germany since the revolution. Even knowing that relations between Iran and Europe would never be the same won't prepare the reader for the surprising—even shocking—twists the trial took.

A nonfiction political thriller of a very high order.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802119117
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 992,129
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Roya Hakakian
Roya Hakakian
With her memoir Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran Roya Hakakian paints a portrait of Iran never before experienced by readers.

Good To Know

A few outtakes from our interview with Hakakian:

"I came to the United States a maladapted nineteen-year-old, with no English. If I can write a book, so can you."

"Whenever I hit a dead-end, I give in to my worst fear by "dislocating" myself. Traveling to unknown places has always enabled me to break through a writing block, as well as a living block. I don't drink, or smoke, not even casually. A clear mind is a writer's greatest gift."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Woodbridge, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 19, 1966
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tehran, Iran
    1. Education:
      B.A., 1990; M.A., 1992
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

After nearly an hour prowling Prager Street, surveying the restaurant in its cul-de-sac, two hulking, bearded figures rolled their collars up to their eyes and burst inside. A third man stood guard at the entrance. It was 10:47 PM.
They darted through the main dining hall, past a lonely customer nursing a last drink. Through an archway, they entered the back room, where a party of eight sat around a rectangular table. The taller of the two intruders stationed himself behind one of the diners, facing the eldest among them --a bald, bespectacled man in a gray suit who was addressing everyone. No one was yet aware of their arrival. The speaker, suddenly meeting the intruder’s dark gaze upon himself, turned pale and froze in mid-speech. Another guest asked what was wrong with him. The answer came from the intruder:
“You sons of whores!”

He thrust his gloved hand into the sports bag that hung on his shoulder. Then, a click! .

A voice from the table shouted: “Comrades, it’s an assassi…!”
The trail of his call faded in the roaring sound that followed. In the dimly-lit air, sparks of fire flashed at the intruder’s hip. Bullets, piercing the side of the bag, bombarded the guests. The shell casings rang on the floor --the men, collapsing, their chairs, falling, the wall behind them, cracking with each bullet. Blood sprayed what remained of a dinner of meat and rice, tracing the empty china like remnants of some crimson garnish, dotting the uneaten bread in their straw baskets, beading the petals of the plastic flowers in their stubby vases. One of the wounded men clutched the tablecloth as he fell, dragging it with him spilling the bottles. The print of his bleeding hand stained one end of the white fabric. Beer and water streaked the cloth and dampened the neon-blue layer beneath.

After two barrages --twenty six bullets-- the shooter paused to inspect the scene. The air was thick with the smell of gunpowder. Of the eight guests, everyone had stooped or fallen, except one. The elder guest was still in his chair, neck slumped on his shoulder, blood tinting his white shirt, blending with the busy pattern of his tie. Another victim was doubled over, breathing noisily, gasping for air, his face was smashed into a mug of beer. The golden liquid was slowly darkening.

The second shooter walked up to the table, tucked his bare hand under his belt, and drew out a gun. No one stirred. He aimed at the elder man, and fired three more bullets into his head. Then he turned to one of the bodies on the floor, a young, mustached man dressed in what, until moments before, had been a crisp white shirt. Pointing his gun at the back of the man’s head, he fired a single shot. Then he turned to the next body and aimed once more. But before he pulled the trigger, his accomplice motioned him to leave.

They bolted out of the restaurant. Their guard joined them at the door. At the intersection across the cul-de-sac, a sky-blue BMW was idling. They ran toward the car. The lead shooter reached it first. He grabbed the handles and swung both front and back passenger doors open. As he jammed himself beside the driver, he threw the bag behind him. The other two shoved themselves in the backseat, where a fourth man sat. A fifth man, their driver, stomped on the accelerator, nearly running over a pedestrian as he took off. Across the intersection, the engine of a black Mercedes roared, and it, too, took off and swerved onto a side street.

The breeze blew gently. A light drizzle fell softly. Suddenly, everything was as it had been on so many nights before. But lights had come on in the few windows overlooking the restaurant. A handful of neighbors had awakened. On the fourth floor balcony of the building next to the restaurant, a young woman clutched the railing, leaning downward. Her auburn hair flowed over the white uniform, her skin still warm from the bike ride home. She peered intently at the sidewalk below, looking for the source of the blast that had shaken the floor of her living room. She was a curious bystander then, soon a witness, one of several hundred, to detail her account –of the tremor beneath her feet, the tremor that would ripple through and shake Germany, and all of Europe in the months to come.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Beautifully written thriller

    "Assassins" reads like a literary thriller stretching from Berlin to Tehran to Beirut, a true page-turner. It's a fantastic work of historical non-fiction written with a poet's hand. All too obvious that the author, nay detective, left no stone unturned when conducting her research.

    An absolute must read when looking to make sense of current events - be it the Green Movement of 2009 in Iran or the current Arab Spring.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Great read!!

    Read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Well written, but not as gripping as I thought it would be.

    A well written nonfiction book about an assassination of Iranian opposition party exiles in Germany. Uplifting that Europe finally served the killers justice rather than putting financial and economic interests above it. Still very pertinent as regards today's Iranian leaders.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)