I really liked the scenery and the historical setting of this novel, but I was expecting a little more depth to the characters and more development of the intrigue in the plot. I loved that the story focused on Elenora but the mysterious aspects of her birth were never explained or fully developed. I also liked the interaction between Elenora and the Sultan, but again, I wish their relationship had been given more time to expand. I was really drawn into the stories of the supporting characters - Moncef Bey and Elenora's tutor Reverend Muehler - as well. Lukas did a nice job weaving their subplots into the main story and I was very intrigued by them both.
While there were things I wish had been done differently, I still rather enjoyed this book. The writing was well done and it is a fast paced story. The Ottoman Empire was a unique setting, as it seems rarely chosen in historical fiction works, and I enjoyed the details of the political climate and the pictures of Turkish life. As a debut novel, The Oracle of Stamboul was definitely a book that will have me remembering Michael David Lukas' name for seeking out his future works.