• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Harper (February 8, 2011)
Late in the summer of 1877, as Tsar Alexander II’s Royal Cavalry descends on the defenseless Ottoman outpost of Constanta, a flock of purple and white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town, and Eleonora Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives who arrive just minutes before her birth. “They had read the signs, they said: a sea of horses, a conference of birds, the north star in alignment with the moon. It was a prophecy that their last king had given on his deathwatch.” But joy is mixed with tragedy, for Eleonora’s mother dies soon after the birth.
Raised by her doting father Yakob, a carpet merchant, and her stern, resentful stepmother, Ruxandra, Eleonora’s early years are spent daydreaming and doing housework and avoiding the wrath of her stepmother—until the moment she teaches herself to read, and her father recognizes that she is an extraordinarily gifted child, a prodigy.
When Yakob sets off by boat for Stamboul on business, eight-year old Eleonora, unable to bear the separation, stows away in one of his trunks. On the shores of the Bosporus, in the house of her father’s business partner Moncef Bey, a new life awaits. Books, backgammon, beautiful dresses and shoes, markets swarming with color and life, the imperial capital overflows with elegance and mystery. For in the narrow streets of Stamboul—a city at the crossroads of the world—intrigue and gossip are currency, and people are not always what they seem. Eleanor’s tutor, an American minister and educator, may be a spy. The kindly though elusive Moncef Bey has a past history of secret societies and political maneuvering. And what to make of the eccentric though charming Sultan Abdulhamid II himself, beleaguered by friend and foe alike as his unwieldy, multi-ethnic Empire crumbles?
The Oracle of Stamboul is a marvelously evocative, magical historical novel that will transport readers to another time and place—romantic, exotic, yet remarkably similar to our own.
Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary Scholar in Tunisia. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, his writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and the Georgia Review. He has received scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. He currently lives in Oakland, CA, less than a mile from where he was born. When he isn’t writing, he teaches creative writing to third and fourth graders.
Find out more about Michael at his website.
Michael’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, February 8th: The Bodacious Pen
Tuesday, February 8th: The Reading Date
Tuesday, February 8th: Katie’s Nesting Spot
Wednesday, February 9th: Medieval Bookworm
Wednesday, February 9th: Bibliophibian
Thursday, February 10th: One Girl Collecting
Thursday, February 10th: Confessions of a Rambling Mind
Thursday, February 10th: Booksie’s Blog
Friday, February 11th: A Book Blogger’s Diary
Friday, February 11th: We Be Reading
Monday, February 14th: Living Read Girl
Monday, February 14th: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Tuesday, February 15th: Melody & Words
Tuesday, February 15th: Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings
Wednesday, February 16th: Jenny’s Books
Thursday, February 17th: Book Sake
Friday, February 18th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Friday, February 18th: Luxury Reading
Monday, February 21st: Chocolate & Croissants
Tuesday, February 22nd: Journey of a Bookseller
Tuesday, February 22nd: The Feminist Texan [Reads]
Wednesday, February 23rd: My Two Blessings
Wednesday, February 23rd: Man of La Book
Thursday, February 24th: One Book Shy
Friday, February 25th: Rundpinne
Friday, February 25th: Staircase Wit
Monday, February 28th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Tuesday, March 1st: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, March 2nd: Simply Stacie
Friday, March 4th: Kelly’s Lucky You!
Monday, March 7th: Book Journey
Tuesday, March 8th: Coffee and a Book Chick
Wednesday, March 9th: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, March 9th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, March 14th: Like Fire
Wednesday, March 16th: The Whimsical Cottage
Monday, March 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, March 23rd: Layers of Thought