Historical fiction taking place in 1490's to early 1500's during the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. Many converted to Catholicism rather than leave, but many who converted (conversos) were later hunted down by the Inquisition, persecuted and burned at the stake. This is the story of Yonah Toledano, teenage son of a master silversmith who is separated from his family during their hasty flight from their home. His father is killed, his younger brother, aunt and uncle flee to who knows where, and Yonah finds himself totally alone, to the point where he feels like the last Jew in Spain. As he wanders from town to town, farm to farm, working manual labor jobs and staying in each place for only a few seasons (occasionally a few years until trouble managed to find him again) and eventually apprenticing himself to a physician in Saragossa, pretending outwardly to be Christian but inside still trying to stay true to the memory of his father and remain a Jew, Yonah meets many fascinating people and has many adventures. Absolutely wonderful story--a bit wandering at times, but very atmospheric and moving.
The first 30 pages or so are a little slow, but it is definitely worth continuing on. A piece of historical fiction thick enough to be satisfying, giving us an uncommon glimpse of Spain during the late 1400's, early 1500's, at the time of the inquisition, from the viewpoint of a Jew caught up in the machinations of politics and religion when just a young boy.
The first 50 pages were slow but after it picked up I really enjoyed it. Noah Gordon writes fabulous stories about medievel medicine and paints a colorful picture of the time period. I recommend this book
In 1492, the Inquisition prevails and Jews are expelled from Spain. Some become secret catholics. Yonah, son a silversmith killed by the Inquisition, is determined to survive by remaining a Jew.
I enjoyed this fictional story about one man's journey during the Inquisition.
From the cover:
Spain 1492 - a country in the hold of the horrors of the Inquisition. It is a dangerous time to be of a different faith: several hundred thousand Jews are expelled, given little time to flee, and slaughtered even before they can escape. Yonah, the thirteen-year-old son of a Toledo silversmith, sees his father and brother die in these terrible days. But rather than renouncing his faith or leaving for another land, he decides to stay and honour his beliefs.
Thus begins Yonah's remarkable journey across Spain, zigzagging the country to avoid the agents of the Inquisition. It is an adventure wrought with danger, that finds him coming face to face with his father's killers, with a love unfulfilled amongst his own people in Granada, and leads him to his true calling - as a healer and physician.
Set during the Spanish Inquisition this is a story of a young Jewish boy. His father and one brother are murdered and his youngest brother is taken away when the Jews are expelled from Spain. He renounces the opportunity to convert and lives a life on the run, hiding his identity and trying to find a place for himself and his faith in the hostile world in which he lives. Beautifully written, epic in scope and rich in history. This is a great read.