April 2012 Indie Next List
“This majestic debut follows Eleanora Cohen, an eight-year-old prodigy who, through a strange turn of events, leaves her life in Constanta and becomes an adviser to the Sultan. Lukas deftly evokes the sights, smells, sounds, and textures of 19th century Stamboul. The reader sees the world through the eyes of a small, precocious child as she negotiates with the larger forces of history. This is a stunning and thoroughly engaging read that will reach beyond the typical genre of historical fiction.”
— Rachel Marcus, Pegasus Downtown, Berkeley, CA
March 2011 Indie Next List
“A baby is born with the signs of a sea of horses, a conference of birds and the North Star in alignment with the moon. These signs fulfill an ancient prophecy that a young girl will put the world right again, on its axis. Eleanor Cohen, an eight-year-old child prodigy, learns of her fate just as the Sultan of Stamboul has requests her presence. He is so impressed by her that he asks for advice in matters of state. This is a tale of mystery and political intrigue set in the exotic locale of 1885 Istanbul, but it has definite significance for our own time and place.”
— Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI
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 child--a prodigy--at 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 II--beleaguered by friend and foe as his unwieldy realm crumbles--that Eleonora will change the course of an empire.