Sheer reading pleasure: Gorgeous writing, lush detail, and a dollop of magic in a historical novel

Mal Warwick's Blog on Books

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A review of The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas

@@@@ (4 out of 5)

If you enjoy reading for its unique possibilities — mellifluous language, vivid imagery,  immersion in places and circumstances you might never experience — then you’ll love this book. From the very first page, The Oracle of Stamboul will draw you relentlessly into the world of the Ottoman Empire in its twilight years of the 1880s. You’ll meet an extraordinary child, Eleanora Cohen, and you’ll be present with her from the violence of her birth in Rumania through her ninth year in Istanbul (then Stamboul) as the unlikeliest of advisers to the Sultan. You’ll revel in the sights and sounds and smells of this fabled imperial capital of two million souls, and you’ll gain a front-row seat on the plotting and scheming in the palace and among the timid revolutionaries who only wish that…

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