Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Oracle of Stamboul

Around the World in 52 Books:  1/52

The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas

My Goodreads Review

I have a very strict definition of historical fiction.  It is a historical event or person brought to life in a story.  The history should be factual as much as possible.  It should make you feel as if you were there, during the time period, witnessing the event.  James Michener was one of the best writers of historical fiction.

It seems that lately, people assign the label historical fiction to any piece of work that is set at least 50 years in the past.  We now have offshoots - historical romance, historical mystery, historical fantasy to name a few.

This book, while it was set in the late 1800's and did relate the historical events of the time, was more fantasy.  Was the intention to tell a story to bring that time period to life?  Or was it the intention of the author to create a fantasy around the time period?   Actually, that is the crux of the definition of historical fiction for me.  What is the purpose behind telling the story? 

I make no apology for my opinion.  I know how I like my historical fiction.  End of story!


  1. That's an interesting point, that many so-called historical fiction novels these days are more like fantasy books in their use of the setting. I definitely agree with you that historical fiction should put the reader into that period of time and be factual and informative. I think I'd term your stricter definition (historical event or person brought to life in a story) as literary non-fiction, though.

    Did you like Oracle of Stamboul? I keep seeing it on my library featured shelf and go back and forth about whether or not to read it.

  2. I rated it about 3 stars. I really liked it at the beginning but was dissatisfied with the ending.

    I see my link to my review didn't work. You'll find it at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223332972