Kaplan, a screenwriter, sets his debut novel in 15-century Spain, amid the Inquisition, the attempt to unify the kingdoms of Spain under Christian rule, and the voyage of Christopher Columbus to what the seaman expects will be the Indies. The action centers on the historical figure of Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the king of Aragon and a converso, a Jewish convert to Christianity at a time when the Inquisition sought to repress judaizing. Santángel is friend and financier of Columbus, surviving parent of young Gabriel, and more curious than is prudent about his Jewish heritage. While he learns about Judaism in clandestine meetings, a parallel story unfolds, centering on Judith Migdal, a beautiful Jewish woman who learns to become a silversmith in Granada, located in the last part of Spain under Muslim rule. Santángel's attraction to Judith grows, even as the Inquisition closes in and the prospect of another world to the West tantalizes. Kaplan has done remarkable homework on the period and crafted a convincing and complex figure in Santángel in what is a naturally cinematic narrative and a fine debut.
Wow....that's what I think...WOW!! Never in a million years would I say that historical fiction about the New Inquisition during the Medieval times would be intriguing, but I have to say that Kaplan wrote a book that had me turning the pages late into the night and wanting to get up at the crack of dawn to start reading again. The author's writing is so vivid and intense that I felt as if I was walking along side the characters. I loved every aspect of this story, but most of all I loved being immersed in a time of history that I had absolutely no knowledge about. Kaplan has done his research and it shows in his debut novel. For those that are looking for historical fiction that will keep you captivated and make you want to Google words, places, and events...then this is a book for you!!
Recommend? A resounding YES! I'm still in awe that this is Kaplan's first novel. He has a great future ahead of him and I so can't wait to get my hands on his next novel. This is one of the best historical fiction books that I've read in the past couple of years. Do yourself a favor.....read this one!!!
About the author (click on photo)
Published: 2010Publisher: Other PressGenre: Riveting Historical Fiction
Disclaimer:Thank you to Mitchell James Kaplan for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel
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