Friday, February 11, 2011

The Oracle Of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

In The Oracle Of Stamboul, the reader meets Eleonora Cohen, an eight year old girl whose mind makes her a savant capable of untangling any puzzle, whether mathematical or geopolitical.  Eleonora was born in 1877 in Romania during a day of turmoil in her town, necessitating the use of midwives rather than the doctor.  Her mother dies, leaving her to the care of her father and her stern aunt.

When she is eight, she and her father travel to Stamboul where he plans to sell his glorious carpets.  Before they can return a tragedy occurs and she is left in the care of her father's friend.  While there, she reads and studies, and word of her abilities leak out.  She is summoned to the residence of the Sultan, who asks her opinion of a puzzling foreign incident.  When her advice proves to be the best way out of the dilemma, a firestorm is unleashed.

The Sultan is entranced with this child.  Castle politics run high, with his Grand Vizier and his mother, usually bitter enemies, united in their determination to separate him from this child, whom they see as an intruder.  The papers get wind of the storm and blow it into a typical media occasion, suggesting that the Sultan no longer has his own will but is captured and at the mercy of a child.  Eleonora is buffeted between the various factions that surround her and must now determine the solution to the most important puzzle of all--how to live her life going forward.

Readers are in for a marvelous treat with this book.  It is the genre I love most, historical fiction with a touch of magic realism.  Lukas states that some of his literary influences include Salmon Rushdie, Jose Saramago and Gunther Grass, all authors whose books I devour.  Lukas is a welcome addition to this genre.  This book is recommended to all readers; it's gentle tone countered by the mounting intrigue throughout the book is a wonder. 

3 comments:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Historical fiction with a dash of magical realism is definitely an appealing genre for me so I'm looking forward to picking this up myself.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

johium said...

The book is well written and just interesting enough that I finished it. The starting point is interesting, and I actually had high hopes for the opening. But as I read further, I felt he was missing.
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nose surgery said...

These documents have been hit into the storm and where the typical media, indicating that Sudan will no longer have his own, but was caught in a child's mercy and. Eleonora is a shock around between her, and now must determine the most important challenges to all solutions to the various factions.