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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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The Oracle of Stamboul (P.S.)

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The Oracle of Stamboul (P.S.) Cover

ISBN13: 9780062012104
ISBN10: 006201210x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

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 Pullmans The Golden Compass, Orhan Pamuks My Name is Red, or Gabriel García Márquezs 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.  

Synopsis:

Ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives late in the summer of 1877 in the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, Eleonora Cohen proves herself an extraordinarily gifted child—a prodigy—at a very young age. When she is eight years old, she stows away aboard a ship, following her carpet merchant father, Yakob, to the teeming and colorful imperial capital of Stamboul where a new life awaits her.

In the narrow streets of this city at the crossroads of the world, intrigue and gossip are currency, and people are not always what they seem. But it is only when she charms the eccentric Sultan Abdulhamid II—beleaguered by friend and foe as his unwieldy realm crumbles—that Eleonora will change the course of an empire.

About the Author

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. Lukas lives in Oakland, California, less than a mile from where he was born. When he isn’t writing, he teaches creative writing to third- and fourth-graders. Visit him online at <>.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

chocolateandcroissants, November 11, 2011 (view all comments by chocolateandcroissants)
Set in Turkey The Oracle of Stamboul captured both my heart and imagination from the beginning. Who can resist the allure of Stamboul?

Late in the summer of 1877, as the Russian cavalry descends of the defenseless Ottoman outpost of Constanta, a flock of purple and white hoopoes suddenly appears over the town and Eleonaro Cohen is ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tarta midwires who arrive just minutes before her birth. "They had read the sign, 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 is with tragedy, for Eleonora's mother dies soon after the birth.

As Eleonora grows up, raised by her widowed father and stern aunt, her flock of hoopoes is a constant presence in her life. As a young child she discovers her father's bookshelves and loses herself for hours in the words between the spines of the books. When her father embarks on a journey to Stamboul to sell his carpets, she stows away in a trunk finding herself welcomed into the home of her father’s friend, Moncef Bey. During her short stay at Moncef Bey's home with her father she is introduced to a life fit for a Panguian as she is treated to dress fittings, hours of reading and games of backgammon. Outside the walls of Moncef Bey's home Sultan Abdulhamid II is struggling to keep his empire together given the terrible advice of all his useless advisers.

For me The Oracle of Stamboul was a novel that took me back in time to a land of magic and mystic. Did the Stamboul as described in the book ever exist? I cannot say for sure. What I do know is that while I was reading the book, I could hear the call to prayer as I looked out over the Bosphorus Sea. The air was filled with the scent of rosewater and out of the corner of my eye I could see shades of purple as the hoopoes watched over.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780062012104
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Lukas, Michael David
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
Sultans -- Turkey.
Subject:
Istanbul (Turkey) - History - 19th century
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20110830
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.3125 x 0.720721 in 8.4 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction

The Oracle of Stamboul (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780062012104 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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&#8212;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 Pullmans The Golden Compass, Orhan Pamuks My Name is Red, or Gabriel Garc&iacute;a M&aacute;rquezs 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.  
"Synopsis" by , Ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives late in the summer of 1877 in the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, Eleonora Cohen proves herself an extraordinarily gifted child&#8212;a prodigy&#8212;at a very young age. When she is eight years old, she stows away aboard a ship, following her carpet merchant father, Yakob, to the teeming and colorful imperial capital of Stamboul where a new life awaits her.

In the narrow streets of this city at the crossroads of the world, intrigue and gossip are currency, and people are not always what they seem. But it is only when she charms the eccentric Sultan Abdulhamid II&#8212;beleaguered by friend and foe as his unwieldy realm crumbles&#8212;that Eleonora will change the course of an empire.

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