By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

By Fire, By Water

Mitchell James Kaplan paints a vivid picture of 15th century Spain in this novel about the lives of conversos (Jews who converted to Christianity to save themselves from religious intolerance) in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition.

The book was a bit slow to start for me, but once it did, I was hooked.  The characters were compelling and the narrative included intrigue.  There aren’t many works of historical fiction that tackle the topic of Spanish Jews or the Muslims of Granada, so I enjoyed reading about that bit of history.  Also fascinating was the “new inquisition” and how the then-current pope disapproved.

While the treatment of the conversos is heartbreaking, Kaplan doesn’t fail to give his readers of sense of hope.

Two other books that deal with the exodus of Jews during the Inquisition are People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, and The Coffee Trader by David Liss.  Both are excellent and highly recommended.

4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2010
284 pages


About Suzanne

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids who loves to read.
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