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The Heretic by Lewis M. Weinstein
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really liked it

I'm not sure where to start with my review of Lewis Weinstein's 'The Heretic', so I'll start by saying that it was a damn good read. I think that part of my problem here is that I read the sequel first, and while both books are very good works of fiction in their own right, there's always a little less suspense when one knows, even in the broadest terms, what is going to happen down the line.

My misfortune aside, The Heretic is, like its sequel The Pope's Conspiracy, a very well-written, historically and culturally intriguing novel. It follows the life of the Catalans, a family of 'conversos' - those forced by the Church to convert from Judaism to Christianity - at one of those painfully numerous persecutions of Jews. The story is set in and around Seville which, in the middle of the 15th century was being fought over by an emergent Catholic Spain and the Moorish occupiers who had held much of Iberia for centuries.

As with The Pope's Conspiracy, the characters are very well created and developed. I'm happy to have never had to write about a character as tough to depict as Gabriel Catalan's wife, Pilar! Unlike TPC, however, I was lucky enough to have only the most basic of backgrounds in the historical setting, and the book was all the more enjoyable for it. Lewis Weinstein has chosen a very interesting period of history in which to set this series (if it is to become a series), and I find myself nosing around parts of online book shops to which I wouldn't ordinarily pay much attention.

If Spain or Spanish history are your thing, or if you enjoy historical fiction, then I would highly recommend The Heretic. This is especially true since the author is good enough to have given a select bibliography at the end, and there are fews things better than a book that leads into other books!
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Reading Progress

February 14, 2012 – Shelved (Other Paperback Edition)
August 25, 2012 – Started Reading
August 25, 2012 – Shelved
September 25, 2012 – Finished Reading

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Lewis Weinstein MIKE ... Thank you so much for your kind words. There is a third book in my mind, but it will have to wait until my current project (a novel set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years) is completed, which will be several years at least. ... LEW

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