THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL
Telling details and nuggets of little-known history make Lukas’ debut novel enjoyable. The characters, however, never rise to the level of the rich history contained in the story.
Eleonora Cohen isn’t like any other little girl. Born in 1877 Romania, she is prophesied to change history. Gifted with amazing intelligence, she finds a place for herself in Stamboul, where she arrives after a harrowing journey as a stowaway in her father’s trunk. When he is killed in an accident, she becomes the ward of her father’s friend, who dabbles in political intrigue. Her unique talents are brought to the attention of the sultan, and she is ordered to find him a path through a political standoff. It’s a lot to ask of a little girl. The outcome of her final meeting with the sultan changes not only her, but the future of an empire. (HARPER, Feb., 304 pp., $24.99)