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The Oracle of Stamboul

The Oracle of Stamboul is a wonderful, lilting fairytale set in Istanbul at the dusk of the Ottoman Empire. It follows a little girl who becomes orphaned and falls into favour with the Sultan.

If you like Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the genre of magic realism, you'll like this book, but if you're wary, don't worry -- it stays grounded enough to be convincing.  It's also a quick read.