Book Review: The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas

February 23, 2011


“The Oracle of Stamboul” by Michael David Lukas (Website) is a fictional book which follows the early years of a child who is thought to be the fulfillment of a prophecy. This is Mr. Lukas’ first effort and it certainly shows promise.

  • 304 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : Harper
  • Language ‏ : English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : 0062012096

The publisher has made available one (1) copy of “The Oracle of Stamboul” to be given out- enter at the end of the post

Book Review: The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas
My rating for The Oracle of Stamboul3
Buy The Oracle of Stamboul from*
More Books by Michael David Lukas*


“The Oracle of Stamboul” by Michael David Lukas is a different type of book where the story takes second place to the story telling. The city of Stamboul (Istanbul) takes a very active role in the book while the author describes the vividness and sharp backdrop of the city.

The knowledge and the love the author shows throughout the book as well as his portrayal of the area shines through. The symbolism in the book worked for me, the hoopoe birds , considered as good luck in some cultures, play a large role as well as the idea of destiny and wish fulfillment. Nothing comes without a price and in order to get what we want, sometimes we must give up something else.

The Hoopoe Bird

I did not like the way the book ended. I’m not going to divulge the ending but I felt a bit cheated. It seemed as if the first 200 pages or so were a setup for an exciting ending, yet the end seemed as if it is a beginning. Whether or not this is suppose to be the first of a series I do not know (but I will read the second book if it is). I also thought that some of the plot was underdeveloped, for example the glimpse into the reaction of western journalists and their ignorance of the complicated circumstances which they are sitting in the middle of. That was one of my favorite parts yet it was too short and lacked depth. Also the resolution to conflicts in the book were a bit too easy and convenient and Eleonora’s time as an adviser to Ottoman Emperor Abdulhamid II is brief and not very memorable.

Ottoman emperor Abdulhamid II

This book is certainly worth reading, there are some faults but it is a wonderful first effort by Mr. Lukas who certainly has a story telling capability. The novel is elegantly crafted with intriguing characters.

Side note: The packaging of this book was wonderful; I wished I would have taken a picture before opening it.

Buy The Oracle of Stamboul from*
More Books by Michael David Lukas*


Summer of 1877 was a hot one in Constanta when a flock of purple and white hoopoe birds appear as the cavalry of Tsar Alexander descend on the city. The hoopoes are part of a prophecy which would usher in a child to bring back the equilibrium for a world in turmoil. The child is Eleonora Cohen, daughter of Yakob, whose mother dies at birth despite two Tartar midwives who arrive minutes before the birth.

Yakob, a merchant of carpets and Eleonora’s aunt/stepmother struggle with the daughter who, at a young age, prove to be smarter than both of them. While Eleonora’s stepmother worries about repercussions from the non-Jewish populace; Yakob however encourages his daughter as he recognizes her as a prodigy.

Yakob set sail to try to sell is wares in the big city of Samboul (modern day Istanbul), Eleonora not wanting to stay at home, hides and stows away. At Istanbul they meet her father’s good friend and business associate Moncef Bey. Eleonora easily gets accustomed to a life of luxury and elegance filled with books, beautiful dresses, challenges and overabundance.
Word of the child prodigy reaches the ear of Ottoman emperor Abdulhamid II who takes a liking to Eleonora and invites her to be part of his court.


  • Contest is for one (1) new copy of “The Oracle of Samboul”.
  • There will be ONE (1) WINNER
  • Must be a US / Canada mailing Address
  • Ends Wednesday March 02, 2011
  • Winners will be chosen using
  • Winners will have 24 hours after my initial contact to write back their mailing address, otherwise alternate winners will be picked

Congratulations: ayancey@

TLC Book Tour for “The Oracle of Stamboul”:

Tuesday, February 8th: The Bodacious Pen
Tuesday, February 8th: Katie’s Nesting Spot
Wednesday, February 9th: Medieval Bookworm
Wednesday, February 9th: Bibliophibian
Thursday, February 10th: One Girl Collecting
Thursday, February 10th: Confessions of a Rambling Mind
Thursday, February 10th: Booksie’s Blog
Friday, February 11th: A Book Blogger’s Diary
Friday, February 11th: We Be Reading
Monday, February 14th: Living Read Girl
Monday, February 14th: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Tuesday, February 15th: Melody & Words
Tuesday, February 15th: Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings
Wednesday, February 16th: Jenny’s Books
Thursday, February 17th: Book Sake
Friday, February 18th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Friday, February 18th: Luxury Reading
Monday, February 21st: Rundpinne
Monday, February 21st: Chocolate & Croissants
Tuesday, February 22nd: Journey of a Bookseller
Tuesday, February 22nd: The Feminist Texan [Reads]
Wednesday, February 23rd: My Two Blessings
Wednesday, February 23rd: Man of La Book
Thursday, February 24th: One Book Shy
Friday, February 25th: Staircase Wit
Monday, February 28th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Tuesday, March 1st: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, March 2nd: Simply Stacie
Thursday, March 3rd: Janet Boyer Blog
Friday, March 4th: Kelly’s Lucky You!
Monday, March 7th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, March 7th: Book Journey
Tuesday, March 8th: Coffee and a Book Chick
Wednesday, March 9th: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Monday, March 14th: Like Fire
Wednesday, March 16th: The Whimsical Cottage
Monday, March 21st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Wednesday, March 23rd: Layers of Thought

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read “The Oracle of Stamboul”? If so link up your review below

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Wrap Up

The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas


  • SuiteJujuFebruary 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for your honest take. Sounds like one to pass on.
    Great review.
    (not an entry)

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book ToursFebruary 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Sounds like you really had mixed feeling about this one. I’m glad you found some things you did enjoy though!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  • Harvee (Book Bird Dog)February 24, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Turkey and its history is fascinating to me. I’ve read mysteries set in Turkey as well as literary fiction by Pamuk.would love to win this novel.

    harvee44 at

  • RobinFebruary 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I felt the same way about the ending. The story was fascinating though.

  • MarieMarch 31, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Very nice review! Thanks for posting the photos of the hoopoe bird and the emperor. Also for the additional information about the hoopoe bird. All good stuff.

    I really enjoyed this book, too. You brought up some great points that I hadn’t even thought of.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my review of this book.

  • RyanSeptember 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    The more time that passes between me finishing this book and now, the more I’m really not liking it at all. I guess I just wanted more of everything, especially the characters and the significant plot points. It’s seemed those two aspects took a back seat to the setting, which I loved.

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