Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: The Oracle of Stamboul

Review of Michael David Lukas':The Oracle of Stamboul

While I have a deep seeded love of historical fiction, rarely have I ventured outside of the Renaissance of Western Europe or the dark and middle ages of the British Isles. When I was given the opportunity to venture outside of my historical comfort zone via The Oracle of Stamboul it was with timid curiosity that I began my adventure into a foreign time in an exotic land.

On a stormy night in 1877, amidst a flurry of purple wings and mysterious prophecy, a young girl is born and her mother passes on. The precocious Eleanora is raised in Constanta, a distant Ottoman outpost and a city in modern day Romania, by her loving father Yakob and her strict and often cold step-mother, Ruxandra.

Like most children, Eleanora spends a good deal of her childhood engrossed in daydreams and chores. However, she is a child savant and teaches herself to read; whiling away hours reading novel after novel from the family's library, much to her step-mother's dismay. Life in Constanta seems steady and stable, until Eleanora's father announces he plans to take a trip to Stamboul, the capital of the empire, on business. Unable to bear the thought of being alone with Ruxandra, Eleanora hatches a plan and stows away in a trunk of carpets bound to Stamboul with her father and that is where the beauty of Stamboul and the rest of Eleanora's story unfolds.

While the story itself is not overly quick in pace and I wasn't expecting such an abrupt ending, I found myself lost and daydreaming as I followed Eleanora through her travels. The rich descriptions of the fireworks and festivals marking the end of fasting each night of Ramadan, the lush gardens and beautiful tile of the palace, the hustle and bustle of the marketplace will transport you to Turkey in the late 1800's. If you read long enough, you may find yourself glancing out the window from time to time in search of a flock of purple hoopoes.

Visit others on the tour and read how they felt about the book at:
Teresa's Reading Corner
Bloggin' 'bout Books
Like Fire
Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Layers of Thought

Thank you to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the review copy of this novel.


  1. This book sounds like a perfectly wonderful day dream! I may just have to go find myself a copy... ^-^

  2. Eleanora, how cool is that? It sounds like the name of someone with depth.

  3. Like you, most of my historical fiction reading centers on Europe during specific time periods. I'm glad to see that this book was a good pick for someone with bookish tastes that match my own.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  4. What a wonderful review. I enjoy historical fiction, as well. Thanks for posting this. Theresa


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