In 1611, thirty-four-year-old Nur Jahan, daughter of a Persian noble and widow of a subversive official, became the twentieth and favorite wife of the Emperor Jahangir, who ruled the vast Mughal Empire. An astute politician as well as a devoted partner, she issued imperial orders; coins of the realm bore her name. When Jahangir was imprisoned by a rebellious nobleman, the Empress led troops into battle and ultimately rescued him. The only woman to acquire the stature of empress in her male-dominated world, Nur was also a talented dress designer and innovative architect whose work inspired her stepson's Taj Mahal. Nur's confident assertion of talent and power is revelatory; it far exceeded the authority of her female contemporaries in Renaissance Europe, including Elizabeth I. Here, she finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography that awakens us to a fascinating history.