The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas
A Novel

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Synopsis

Set in the heart of the exotic Ottoman Empire during the first years of its chaotic decline, Michael David Lukas’ elegantly crafted, utterly enchanting debut novel follows a gifted young girl who dares to charm a sultan—and change the course of history, for the empire and the world. An enthralling literary adventure, perfect for readers entranced by the mixture of historical fiction and magical realism in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red, or Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Lukas’ evocative tale of prophesy, intrigue, and courage unfolds with the subtlety of a Turkish mosaic and the powerful majesty of an epic for the ages.  
 

About Michael David Lukas

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Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary scholar in Tunisia. He lives in Oakland, California.
 
Published February 8, 2011 by HarperCollins e-books. 354 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Oracle of Stamboul

Kirkus Reviews

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When Eleonora is eight, her father goes to Stamboul—Istanbul—to sell rugs, and Eleonora secrets herself in the ship hold to be with her father.

Feb 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

The New York Times

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By foregrounding the setting at the expense of his characters, Lukas unfortunately saps the story of most of its mystery, suspense and menace, and despite having enjoyed much of the lovely prose along the way, I read the book’s underwhelming climax in a Peggy Lee frame of mind: “Is that all there...

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

NPR

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It took Michael David Lukas seven years to write his debut novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, but as Martha Woodroof writes, the long struggle was worth it. Woodroof speaks with Lukas about going by three names, the young girl who inspired his novel and going broke for one's writing dreams.

Mar 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Book Reporter

Somewhere here, eight-year-old Eleonora Cohen travels far from home with her father toward the destination of Stamboul, where Yakob intends to sell his wares.

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

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Los Angeles Times

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A gifted young girl finds herself in the middle of intrigue amid an Ottoman Empire setting in this enticing debut novel.

Mar 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

The Bookbag

There are many beautiful phrases and sentences such as: The morning came smothered in a heap of goose down and shadows and Eleonora lay curled around herself like a dried leaf ...

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Dallas News

Michael David Lukas’s gem of a first novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, has its imaginative center in the city of Istanbul itself, “that ancient hinge of continents, home of Io and Justinian, envy of Constantine and Selim, the pearl of the Bosporus, that dazzling jewel at the center of the Ottoman Em...

Apr 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Open Letters Monthly

Eleonora’s tale is also motivated by an imaginary book, or rather a series of volumes, called The Hourglass: Staring at the page, Eleonora felt sometimes as if she were a peasant pressed up against the windows of a great house in hopes of catching a glimpse of the ball.

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Review (Barnes & Noble)

In this richly-flavored, fabulistic first novel, the vividly-imagined Eleanora Cohen—born in Romania in 1877—stows away along with her rug-trader father and heads (in hiding, sustained by a crate of caviar that was destined for the Sultan) from the Romanian city of Constanta to 19th-century "Stam...

Feb 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Beverley Guardian

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Shortly into their visit, a terrible tragedy leaves Eleanora marooned in the city of legends where spies, boarded-up harems and sudden death are as much a part of life as delicious spices, Paris fashions and rosewater.

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Q: How might readers of different ages experience the book? Lukas: I hope The Oracle of Stamboul will appeal to a wide range of readers: people who love reading for its power to transport, to inform, and to inspire;

Feb 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Chamber Four

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May 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Fiction Writers Review

Each week Fiction Writers Review gives away several free copies of a featured novel or story collection as part of our Book-of-the-Week program.

Mar 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

TODAY'S ZAMAN

His bold depiction of Sultan Abdulhamid II offers insight into the mind of a disillusioned young man who is uninspired by the practicalities of religion (in private), hypocritical, irritated by his mother and lord of a frustrated society losing its religious fervor -- “Fasting for Ramadan is like...

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Oracle of Stamboul
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