The Oracle of Stamboul
By Michael David Lukas
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062012104, 320pp.)
Publication Date: August 2011
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Ushered into the world by a mysterious pair of Tartar midwives late in the summer of 1877 in the town of Constanta on the Black Sea, Eleonora Cohen proves herself an extraordinarily gifted childa prodigyat a very young age. When she is eight years old, she stows away aboard a ship, following her carpet merchant father, Yakob, to the teeming and colorful imperial capital of Stamboul where a new life awaits her.
In the narrow streets of this city at the crossroads of the world, intrigue and gossip are currency, and people are not always what they seem. But it is only when she charms the eccentric Sultan Abdulhamid IIbeleaguered by friend and foe as his unwieldy realm crumblesthat Eleonora will change the course of an empire.
- A prophecy foretold the birth of a girl like Eleonora Cohen. Do you believe in mystical propositions such as prophecies? Do you think the events surrounding her birth were truly foretold or just coincidence? Why do we in the West dismiss the idea of prophets and prophecies? Have we lost something in doing so?