Blodeuedd Finland's Reviews > By Fire, by Water

By Fire, by Water by Mitchell James Kaplan
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Jan 20, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from January 18 to 20, 2011

My thoughts:

This was such a beautifully written book, readers often say that it felt like they were there. But this one truly brought that out. There was a movie slowly playing in my head while reading this book.


Luis de Santángel is rich and powerful, but three generations back he was a Jew and being a Jew or of Jewish origin in 15th century Spain is dangerous. Converted Jews are being hunted, those still holding on to their faith suffer under taxes. The Spanish inquisition was truly cruel. It is an era I have not actually read about before and it brings danger and drama, it gives flavor to this book.


The history in this book about how he starts having these talk about the Jewish faith, then another man joins, and there things get out of control. Suffering will follow. I could go on and on about religion and so on. But I will keep it short and say that some people back then were idiots for the things they believed, I wanted to go back and shout at them. And then I would have been burnt at the stake. The things done and said in religion are the things that truly make me lose faith in mankind. Ok I will end it there before I go all philosophical.


There is also a hint of romance, he meets a silver-smith, a Jewess in Granada. But Granada is about to fall soon because Ferdinand and Isabella wants a Christian kingdom that covers the whole of Spain.


It's a story about faith, murder, persecution, and the idea about the Garden of Eden and how Christopher Columbus meant to find it.


Recommendation and final thoughts:

I do love language, and hear that really shines through. He has written a book that echoes times gone by. He brings a presence to this book and I read little by little, not too much at once. This is a book to read slowly.


This is a book for all historical fictions fans, and the rest of you that appreciate a well-written book and story.


Reason for reading:

Everyone loved this book, and that sure made me curious.
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