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Der Medicus von Saragossa

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  7,195 ratings  ·  369 reviews
Was hat Noah Gordon mit dem legendären Pater Brown gemeinsam? Er kann's eben auch nicht lassen -- gut so! Und ab geht's mit dem neuen Buch des Bestsellerautors ins mittelalterliche Spanien, hinein in die Zeit der sich ausbreitenden Inquisition im beginnenden 15. Jahrhundert. Historie als unterhaltsame Kost, leichtverdauliche Handlungsebenen, gute Recherche bis ins Detail u ...more
Paperback, 502 pages
Published November 19th 2001 by Goldmann (first published 1999)
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 ·  7,195 ratings  ·  369 reviews

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Jeanette (Again)
If you're like me and don't know a lot about late-15th-century Spain, this novel is a nice accessible little history lesson. I learned a lot about beliefs and customs at the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Ferdinand and Isabella issued a royal edict expelling all Jews from Spain. Fifteen-year-old Yonah Toledano is a Jewish boy whose family members have all fled or been slain. He stays in Spain, keeping his Jewishness a secret and using a Christian name. He travels far and wide on his trusty bur
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, library, spain
Gordon's scathing denunciation of prejudice and its effects, couched in a moving narrative. Yonah, a young Jew in 15th century Spain, is forced to flee his home of Toledo after a younger brother and father, a talented silversmith, are killed in what we'd call a pogrom which followed Ferdinand and Isabella's infamous Order of Expulsion of Jews from Spain. Yes, THOSE monarchs! Yonah, throughout his life, holds on to his religion and stays one step ahead of the horrible Inquisition. He represents h ...more
Description: Set at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, all Jews are to be exiled from Spain. Orphaned Yonah manages to stay and learn physician's skills from a mentor.
With love
For Caleb and Emma
and Grandma
Opening: The Silversmith's Son: The bad time began for Bernado Espina on a day when air hung heavy as iron and the arrogant sunshine was a curse. That morning his crowded dispensary had been almost emptied when a pregnant woman's water burst, and he banished from the room the two patients wh
This book changed its nature three times during the course of the narrative. It started off as a whodunit, became a picaresque novel(about a wanderer who has adventures) and finally a book that reminded me of Greek tragedy because destiny or the Fates seemed to play a rather relentless role. The picaresque aspect took up most of the book as the main character, Yonah Toledano, wandered through different parts of medieval Spain. The best known picaresque novel is Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. T ...more
Anna Engel
The story is that, upon the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, young Yonah Toledano is left alone as the last Jew in Spain (highly doubtful!). He wanders around, bereft of family and community, taking on a variety of jobs as needed to survive. He apprentices to an armorer, which ultimately doesn't work out when his master is killed. Honor-bound to deliver a box of money to the armorer's brother, who happens to be a physician, Yonah finds himself apprenticed to the physician. He eventually becomes ...more
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. The setting is fascinating and terrifying - the Spanish inquisition. While the inquisition is a continual backdrop - especially the first half of the book - the book is not really about the horrors of the inquisition in the blood and gore sense. Yes, there are some passages about the brutality, but this book is at its core a deep character study.

The Last Jew is about Yonah Toledano, a man who by circumstances ends up orphaned at the time of th
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1492 and the royal decree has gone out that all Jews in Spain must be out in three months.
What follows is understandably chaotic and cruel. But what befalls the Toledano family is especially horrible. The Inquisition looms large throughout the entire story and 15 year old Jonah faces almost insurmountable challenges. Somehow, trapped in Spain after the expulsion, this lonely Jew makes a life for himself and his story is riveting.
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Jew (2000) is the second book by Gordon that I've read in recent months. The first was The Physician (2001). His stories offer excellent reading value both as a result of the amount of historical research he puts into them which give them a feel of authenticity as well as the way each story is crafted.

The Last Jew takes place during the Inquisition in Spain in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The first part of the book conveys the devastating impact the Inquisition had on Jews.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book as a way to familiarize myself with the history of Spain. I traveled to Spain and Portugal this past summer and had a fun time reading the history of this painful period.
The back cover of this book promised me "a glimpse of history, an authentic tale of high adventure, and a tender and unforgettable love story," about a fugitive learning to fight like a knight, and "hurling snatches of almost forgotten Hebrew at the stars." I expected an exploration of what being Jewish meant to the main character, and why he would accept a life as a fugitive to hold on to it.

I got a so-so historical adventure story. I felt as if the author wanted to remind his readers every so
Lawrence Schwimmer
This is a wonderfully absorbing historical novel about people (and the central character, a Jew) living during the 15th century and the Spanish Inquisition. The author is a great story-teller and weaves his character through this period in history giving you the feeling that you are a living, breathing person alive during this tumultuous time. This story engages you from the very beginning a holds your interest until the last page. And, like most great only wish the book were longer! ...more
Cindy Katz
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1492 in Spain and the Inquisition is in full force. A young lone man travels to avoid being found out. Not only is the historical piece interesting, the character himself, Yonah, is interesting, forced to try his hand at whatever gainful opportunity presents itself. This was a book club pick but I missed reading it then. I picked it up to read while traveling through Spain. This made for an even better read and added to my travel experience. I recommend.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was worried that this would turn into "My name is Yonah Toledano. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Then nothing much happened, and I wish it had.
I read The Physician by this same author years ago and bits and pieces have come back at odd times to haunt me. I suspect it will be the case with this book as well. This period of Jewish history has always fascinated me (though my family's background is from an entirely different region.)

As to the book itself, I found the pace a little uneven and the story thinned out in points to test my powers of believability. But all in all, I am more satisfied than less. Even if it got a little pat in plac
2.5 stars
I think the author wrote, unintentionally, about the Jews of the last 80 years: they know it is important to be a Jew but they either don't know why or they are unable to articulate why. Actually, there is always a percentage of Jews in each generation that are cultural Jews and do not have the knowledge of Judaism to understand what is to be a Jew and the value in persisting to be Jewish, even if it means death, imprisonment or exile. These days the Holocaust and Israel substitute for
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
15th Century and the Spanish Inquistion...Ferdinand and Isabella kick all the Jews out of Spain and this book tells the story of one who stayed behind in hiding. The first half of the book is REALLY slow but the last half you can't put down. Learned a lot about a time period I don't know much about plus can't see that much has changed from the 15th and 21st Centuries...we still can't get along!
Stephen Gallup
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There seem to be more historical novels crossing my path these days. I read this shortly after finishing another one set just 30 years later, in Germany. They're somewhat similar in that both involve paroxysms of the Church of the day. 
The story opens with the point of view of a doctor living in Toledo, who is summoned to view the body of a young man who'd been robbed and murdered while trying to deliver a silver reliquary his father had fashioned for the local monastery. The victim had been a
Robert Lee
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent telling of attitude of Spanish during Jewish diaspora. Dialogue nicely depicts language phrasing of 15th century
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a rather hard time getting into this, but persevered, and was glad I did. I have enjoyed the historical aspect of the book, the shedding light on a time and place I knew very little about. I grew fond of the main character and wanted things to turn out well for him. Would rather give it 3.5 stars, if it were possible to do so.
Bob Kenobi
An entertaining book, nice setting in the Inquisition Spain, but quite predictable, it made me think that I have read too many historical novels and now nothing surprises me (GRRM destroyed our "plot twist" expectancies too).
Actually, I had always wanted to re-read "The Physician" by Noah Gordon, which is probably the book that impacted me the most in my life (I was 12 when I read it). But after reading this, maybe I just decide to keep my memories intact.
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Yonah Toledano, is a Jewish youngster who loses his family when Jews are expelled from Spain by Royal mandate at the end of the 15th century and the ruthless Inquisition institution of the Catholic Church prepares to gets in full force to render Spain full Christian
Though entertaining, the tale fails to go deep enough as to grasp the roots of the life problems that beset the character, in fact is unable to catch the essence of the suffering of a Jew who is undergoing two different and
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-euro, iberia, 2000s
When seeing references to Isabella's Spain, tend to think of this. Have appreciated several of Mr Gordon's stories. Recommend his Physician work most.
Here's a quote from Noah's website.
When all unconverted Jews are expelled from Spain during the Inquisition, 15-year-old Yonah Toledano is left behind. He begins a meandering journey, part desperate flight, part voyage of discovery. The story of his growth into manhood–as a physician with the outer persona of an Old Christian and a soul that cli
Joe Stack
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Spanish Inquisition is the era in which this story takes place, setting in motion an adventure that takes the main character through many parts of Spain. I thought there was a "Les Miserable" feeling to story by how Yonah, the main character, feels pursued, has to flee and hide his identity, and find love. I think the author's writing immerses the reader in details of the period as he moves the story along. I did not find any boring or slow parts in the writing. The impact of the Inquisition ...more
(Actual rating = 3.75 stars)

The Last Jew is the tale of Yonah Toledano, a young man who is forced into hiding by the Inquisition. He travels over great swaths of Spain, growing into a man, trying not to forget his Jewish roots.

This book was beautifully researched and written. Your heart breaks as Yonah finds his place in a country that doesn't want him. The book reminded me a little of the Slovakian movie "Broken Promises," in which the protagonist (also in hiding) feels as though he's the las
Maria Elmvang
I really enjoyed The Last Jew, but at the same time it made me so angry. As far as I know it's quite historically correct, and the treatment of Jews in the 16th century upsets me. Genocide is always horrible, and when it's brought about by Christians who really ought to know better, it makes it a so much more tragic and shameful action.

It's not as well written as Shaman and The Physician but still well worth reading.
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping. I went into a family-owned bookstore in my hometown (where I worked my first job) and asked the owner's daughter for a book that would take me out of my life and totally consume me. This was perfect--a true page-turner, and for a reader who usually loves books about loss and grief, and those about women's lives, this was a welcome change. I can recommend it to my guy friends too! Beautifully written, with an ending that makes things come full circle in real-life ways.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book! It really made you think about the lives of these people. I did not realize before reading this book that the Spanish Inquisition killed more than Hitler ever did. It gave me new respect for the culture and times of this century. Truly the world was in a great upheaval!
It was interesting to see how this author allows this young protaganist to rise above his circumstances and learn and find happiness.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
Yonah Toledano is born in TOledo Spain in the 1400s - the height of the Spanish Inquisition. In 1492 all Jews are expelled or made to convert to Catholicism. Yonah's brother and father (silversmiths) are murdered and aat age 15 he escapes on a burro determined to honor the memory of his father by remaining a Jew. He zigzags across SPain workins as a shepherd, an armorer, a seaman and eventually discovers secrets of his past.

A great tqale of adventure and life in the 15th century.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came highly recommended but I approached it with some hesitation because I dread the subject matter. I always say that I'm not going to read any more books about the holocaust, the inquisition, any genocide at all. Then I read a good story like this and am glad that I did. The story telling is superb. It rolls along quickly and gives so much history with out feeling like a history class. I really enjoyed it.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Think I read the library hardcover version of this fascinating book. Wish I could give 3 1/2 stars to put it a notch above most of the things I have been slotting into 3 stars. Very touching what had to be done to preserve a faith under tough conditions of persecution.

Somehow, my mind compared this with The Coffee Trader.
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Play Book Tag: The Last Jew ~ 4 Stars 2 13 Sep 04, 2016 01:31PM  

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Noah Gordon is an American novelist. Some of the topics covered within his novels include medical history and medical ethics. More recently he has begun to focus more on themes relating to the Inquisition, and Jewish cultural history. His novel Shaman won the first James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1993.

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