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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael David Lukas Narrator: Mozhan Marnò Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An elegantly crafted, utterly enchanting debut novel set in a mystical, exotic world, in which a gifted young girl charms a sultan and changes the course of an empire's history

Late in the summer of 1877, a flock of purple-and-white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, 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 spends her early years daydreaming and doing housework—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. Eleonora'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 is to be made of the eccentric, charming Sultan Abdulhamid II himself, beleaguered by friend and foe alike as his unwieldy, multiethnic 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lukas…brings a raconteur’s sense of storytelling, a traveler’s eye for color and a scholar’s sense of history to his first novel…Lukas has given us a Turkish delight.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A gem of a first novel…an appealing blend of magical and historical realism…This is a polished literary work that will appeal to a wide readership.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “The exotic sights and sounds of nineteenth-century Turkey spring vividly to life in Lukas’ promising debut.”

    Booklist

  • “A magical debut.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “Michael David Lukas charms in his debut.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “Beautifully conveys the flavor of Turkish culture.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Selected for the March 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jodee | 5/17/2011

    " The plot had so much potential and fell flat "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Linda | 5/7/2011

    " A beautifully written book and an engaging tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jenny | 5/3/2011

    " The quality of the prose was very high, much higher than the quality of the storytelling. I will definitely pick up the next book by Michael David Lukas, but I don't know that I would necessarily recommend this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Diane | 4/23/2011

    " This book is beautifully written by so disappointing because it didn't resolve, it felt as if the book is only half a book. I wanted to much more. But this is one talented writer. "

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About the Author
Author Michael David Lukas

Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright scholar in Turkey, a late-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a Rotary scholar in Tunisia. He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, and his writing has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and the Georgia Review. He lives in Oakland, less than a mile from where he was born. When he isn’t writing, he teaches creative writing to third- and fourth-graders. He is also the author of The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel.