The Oracle of Stamboul Reviewed By Amy Lignor of
Amy Lignor

Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles.  She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books.  She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben

By Amy Lignor
Published on December 4, 2010

Author:  Michael David Lukas
ISBN:  978-0-0620-1209-8

To begin this review properly, let me just say that this is one of the most creative, elegantly descriptive stories I’ve read in a long time.

Author:  Michael David Lukas
ISBN:  978-0-0620-1209-8

Click Here To Purchase The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel
To begin this review properly, let me just say that this is one of the most creative, elegantly descriptive stories I’ve read in a long time.  My first “jolt” of beauty came almost immediately – when the author described a family of hoopoes (purple and white birds) swooping and darting over the harbor of Constanta.  From the red tile roof of the Constanta Hotel, to the bell tower of St. Basil’s Academy, these beautiful, exotic birds were so many in number that they seemed to blanket the landscape like colorful frosting.  The place they seemed to be most excited by was the small home of Yakob and Leah Cohen.
This was the mystical day that Leah Cohen was giving birth to her stunning daughter, Eleonora.  It was the summer of 1877 in this small defenseless Ottoman outpost, and the day was about to grow a lot warmer with the birth of a true and utter miracle.  Unfortunately, at that same moment in time, bad news also came to Constanta, as Tsar Alexander II’s Royal Calvary marched into the town on their way to Pleven.  Pleven, their main goal, was still ten days of traveling and, as they looked down upon Constanta, they realized the lovely town was ripe for the taking.  Only the library survived that horrific day unscathed, yet the Cohen household could’ve cared less.  All they were thinking about was the magical child coming into their midst.
A knock on the door introduced two Tartar midwives who’d arrived at the Cohen household because of a prophecy, and they proceeded to help Leah Cohen with the birth.  With the last breath in her body, Leah named her beautiful child, and then the sky opened up and wept as Leah left the world.  The Tartar women – Mrs. Damakan and her niece – stayed on with Yakob Cohen to help him take care of the child until his sister-in-law, Ruxandra, appeared and proceeded to take over her dead sister’s family.
In another part of the empire – Stamboul, which was a place the Russians were coming to destroy, there is a Sultan by the name of Abdulhamid II.  He is dealing with a great deal of news given to him by his advisors including a Reverend who’s a part of Stamboul society who may also be an American spy; a man by the name of Moncef Bey, who has been a part of underhanded groups in the past and may just be starting up a new secret society; and, the Sultan’s own mother’s issues with what to feed the dignitaries that they’ll need to woo in order to secure their allegiance.  The Sultan most certainly has a great deal on his plate, and a flock of strange looking purple and white birds seem to be watching him from afar.
As time goes by, Eleonora grows older and people soon see the fact that this girl is an absolute marvel – perhaps even a savant.  She can read huge tomes by the age of six, decipher mathematical equations, and heal animals with such sweetness and ease that it’s almost as if she can talk to them.  Her father, Yakob, has done a wonderful job raising her thus far, but one day he tells her that he must go to Stamboul on a business trip to sell his wares.  Eleonora can almost feel the fact that she must go with him no matter how angry he gets, and she soon becomes a stowaway on the ship her father boards.
Because of certain circumstances, the Reverend, Moncef Bey, Yakob and Eleonora cross paths and their lives become intertwined.  Not to mention, at their new destination in Stamboul, Eleonora also meets up with Mrs. Damakan – the Tartar midwife who was there at her birth.  This meeting, and the unveiling of a prophecy from long ago, produces many heart breaks, as well as a completely new path that leads Eleonora straight to the door of the Sultan’s palace.
This young girl has some very powerful men enamored with her mystical brain, and she becomes one of the most influential historical figures that ever existed.  This story is beyond sweet, intelligent, and intensely charming.  Not to mention, the writing of this debut author is so in-depth that the reader can almost smell the incense wafting through the warm breeze, feel the luxurious silks that cover the walls, hear the voices shouting in the marketplace, and see those amazing birds flying overhead, waiting for the Oracle of Stamboul to arrive.  Bravo to this one!  I, for one, will be waiting to see what this author comes up with next.  I have to say, it will be incredibly hard to top this one.

Click Here To Purchase The Oracle of Stamboul: A Novel