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Archive for the ‘* THE HERETIC’ Category

* Monsignor Tom Hartman

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 21, 2016

Heretic & Hartman

Monsignor Thomas Hartman – Father Tom – died this weekend. I first met Monsignor Hartman at the 92nd Street Y in NYC where he opened his talk by saying “The Church did horrible things to the Jews and we were wrong.” Subsequently, he wrote a very thoughtful foreword to my novel THE HERETIC. Father Tom was everything good that a priest can be, a model not just for Catholics, but for all human beings.

***

Foreword to The Heretic by Msgr. Tom Hartman

The Heretic reminds us of a history

that we should not forget.

Marc Gellman and I rarely disagree. We’re best friends. There are many best friends in the world, but the fact that he is a rabbi and I am a priest has caused some people to sit up and take notice. People see us on Good Morning America or Imus In The Morning or our own God Squad show. We try to look out at our world and find a reason for hope which cuts across our respective religious faiths and gets to the heart of spiritually responding to God and our neighbor. We’ve been at this for thirteen years and our disagreements and tense moments have been few.

Marc and I had it out one evening at a local television station. We were talking about the convent at Auschwitz. I was incensed. A Jewish rabbi – Avi Weiss – and a group of his followers had jumped over the convent wall to pray in protest. This startled and frightened the group of contemplative nuns who had built the convent at Auschwitz to pray for the victims of the Holocaust. “How,” I asked Marc “can you or any other Jew support such an action? If Jews knew anything about these sisters they would realize that they were selfless, holy, and prayerful. They were committed to redeeming the ugly face of mass murder and destruction.”

Marc listened. His face told me that he was searching for a way to share something painful with me in a caring way. He turned, looked me in the eye, and said, “Tom, you don’t realize what the Cross of Jesus means to us Jews. For you the Cross is a sign of hope and redemption. For us it’s a sign of despair and destruction. It was during the Inquisition and the Crusades that Christians led with the Cross as they murdered thousands of Jews. They killed Jews and Muslims in the name of the Cross. Pogroms raped and pillaged our people in the name of vengeance toward the Jews that killed Christ.” Marc’s own aunt had once been abused by people leaving a Holy Week service looking for a Jew to vent their anger toward for the death of Jesus.

I didn’t realize the depth of his feelings on the subject until we did that show. It took me aback. That which was a sign of hope and redemptive love for me – the Cross – was a sign of destruction for him. Recognizing this for the first time, I could see why a Jew would be offended at the sight of the Cross at the scene of one of the greatest massacres of Jewish people in human history. I turned and said, “Marc, if that’s what the Cross represents to Jews, maybe we ought to take it down.” “No,” said Marc, “maybe we ought to build a synagogue next to the convent and we could both pray together.”

The Heretic, a book by Lewis Weinstein, was where I turned in order to understand the Inquisition. I knew the outline of Christian atrocities but Lew’s book taught me about the painful positions many good people were put into in order to survive. It’s not a pretty picture. Their lives were all scarred in one way or another. But The Heretic reminds us of a history that we should not forget.

***

link to obituary in NYT …

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/21/nyregion/msgr-thomas-j-hartman-69-half-of-god-squad-dies.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fobituaries&action=click&contentCollection=obituaries&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

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* a new review of THE HERETIC

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 21, 2015

The Heretic - new cover

 

Linda’s review of THE HERETIC on GoodReads (Aug 2015) …

A well written story that will pull at your heartstrings because of the amount of loss and betrayal that occurs when the Catholic Church decides there can be no other religions to compete with them in Spain.

Gabriel Catalan and his family live in Seville where they are called Conversos because they converted to Catholicism to save their family from the torment they would get as Jews. However, Gabriel and a number of other Conversos are secret Jews. Many Catholics do not trust them yet the Conversos have been the ones to keep the country running smoothly. When the Spanish Inquisition begins Gabriel and his family as well as many friends are at risk of being caught in their secret lives and being put to death. This does not stop Gabriel and his son Tomas from hiding Gutenberg Printers so that they may print volumes of Jewish books for the future. There is hope among the Jewish population that things will one day be very different.

As I read this story I kept thinking about the present state of our world and how we seem to be becoming less tolerant again. We were supposed to have learned from the past but we seem to be ignoring it and in some cases pretending that it never happened. How sad for our future generations.

I believe that everyone should read this book as a reminder of what was and what should now be. When we think of intolerance, Hitler and the Nazis always come to mind but there is a whole lot more in our history than that. My hope for mankind is that someday everyone will “give peace a chance” and I believe this story is trying to lead us in that direction.

 

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* a 5 ***** review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads by Peggie Hart

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 12, 2014

2 historical novels

Peggy Hart says …

“I loved this book! Tells a part of European history I knew little about. “The Heretic” explains the rationale of the Catholic Church used to persecute the Jews of Spain. Lessons for our own time.”

Lew says …

Thank you, Peggy. Now, on to the sequel … THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY!

***

You can purchase THE HERETIC and THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY

at amazon, in softcover and kindle

The Heretic - new cover

http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0032UY4MA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415801167&sr=1-1&keywords=weinstein+heretic

Pope's Conspiracy - cover for blog

http://www.amazon.com/Popes-Conspiracy-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B007N7JLAI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415801209&sr=1-1&keywords=weinstein+pope%27s+conspiracy

***

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* I just learned that my novel Hereje (The Heretic in Spanish) is available on kindle at amazon-spain

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 20, 2014

 

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

 

purchase for EUR 9,02 at … 

http://www.amazon.es/Hereje-Algaida-Literaria-Lewis-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0089LOIEG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1408546725&sr=8-3&keywords=hereje  

purchase for $5.99 (in English) at …

http://www.amazon.com/Heretic-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0032UY4MA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408548262&sr=1-1&keywords=heretic+weinstein

 .

Here are some reviews from the Spanish site  (my apologies for the automated translations) … 

.

5 *****

Emocionante y bien documentada, como dice el escritor, nadie le ha escrito para rebatir lo aportado en su novela, novela que quizás aportara, de forma novelada, para algunos que desean saber su posible origen, el 20% de la población española es de origen judío según muestreo de ADN reciente, algo así como 8 millones de personas, espero que Torquemada siga revolviéndose en su tumba eternamente.

Exciting and well documented, as the writer says, no one has written to refute the amount contributed in his novel, a novel that might furnish, in fictionalized form, for some who want to know their possible origin, 20% of the Spanish population of origin Jew according to recent DNA sampling, something like 8 million people, I hope Torquemada continue turning in his grave forever.

5 *****

De lectura obligada para comprender la cultura judía ademas de conocer las vicisitudes por las que ha pasado este pueblo.

A must for understanding Jewish culture in addition to knowledge the vicissitudes through which it has passed these people reading.

 4 ****

Obra de interés histórico que refleja una época dificil de la convivencia y tolerancia en nuestro pais. la recomiendo a los amantes del género

Work of historical interest reflecting a difficult period of coexistence and tolerance in our country. I recommend it to fans of the genre

***

Posted in * THE HERETIC | 1 Comment »

* Cathy’s review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 19, 2014

Heretic & Hereje

English & Spanish editions

 

If I kept a GR shelf for family sagas, this book would be proudly placed there along withThe Pillars of the Earth, Gone With the Wind, and The Age Of Innocence. In my mind they are all historical novels which describe families and their trials and tribulations of living in troubling and/or interesting times. 

This historical fiction was set during the Spanish Inquisition which I knew little about. During this inquisition under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain in the late 1400’s and early 1500’s, the Catalan family tries to live a peaceful life with their own beliefs. In public the family professes to be Catholic but behind closed doors, some family members still practiced Judaism. (It was a stigma to be anything other than Catholic.) 

Each and every character is fully described and so well-drawn that the reader is totally immersed in the storyline. I was vested in this family, wanting them to succeed. Reading the book I had an urgent need to know what happens next to each one. I cared about them and that’s always rewarding to me as a reader. 

Lewis Weinstein does what he does best and does it well. He researches before he writes and it’s obvious he’s aware of the world he’s in when he’s writing. And good for him that his writing is not complicated. I hate useless words and there are none in this book. 

Weinstein’s writing fulfills the need to know at that particular moment of the story and moves the reader gently around each corner with just enough to urge the reader to flip to the next page sometimes more quickly than others. 

I enjoyed reading this book so much. The ending, well the ending in my estimation was incredible. Just amazing. I re-read the ending because it was surprising and so beautifully written. 

This book is a winner and is the first Weinstein I’ve read but I assure you it won’t be my last.

***

Thank you, Cathy

***

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* Chuck’s Goodreads review of THE HERETIC

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 3, 2014

Heretic & Hereje

THE HERETIC … English & Spanish editions

Chuck’s review …

The author, Lewis Weinstein, is one of my Goodreads friends. Outstanding job, Lew.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this is historical fiction of the first order. It is very well written, exhaustively researched and historically accurate. This book increased my knowledge of the religious conflict in 15th century Spain by one hundred fold.

The folks writing positive acknowledgements about the book include Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz and Faye Kellerman.

 The Heretic tells the story from the viewpoint of Gabrel Catalan, a Jewish goldsmith whose ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity under threat of death and, as a result, were known as Conversos. The story lays out the events leading to the infamous Spanish Inquisition.

Mr. Weinstein does a great job of introducing his characters and making them into real people. I heartily recommend it.

THANK YOU, CHUCK!

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* Lisa’s 5 ***** review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2014

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

Lisa wrote …

This historical novel is well-researched and the story is captivating, although difficult to read in places because of the terrible violence perpetrated against Jews and forcibly baptized Christians (and their descendants) suspected of “reverting” to Judaism in medieval Spain.

The author captures well the dangers in the lives of these conversos and, for those who wish to live as Jews, the risks they ran to practice their faith and be true to their heritage. All of this is in the context of the lives of the Catalan family and their associates, for whom I came to care. How tragic that so many people were persecuted for their beliefs based on false and perverted doctrines, when the value of every human being as a child of God and the importance of agency and freedom of conscience are fundamental to God’s true plan of salvation.

The author waxes didactic in places (as I just did), trying to get the details of the various points of view into the record, but that did not mar the book for me–it was fascinating, if deeply disappointing at times, to learn the positions of those who, as Milton wrote in Areopagitica, use the means of “a false and bloody superstition” to protect what is supposed to be a loving and agency-respecting truth.

The book ended too soon for me–I would have liked to see what happened to later generations of the Catalan family–so this is perhaps a call for a sequel. [NOTE: There is a sequel: THE POPE’S CONSPIRACY]

For readers who wish to know more about the position of Jews in medieval Spain and get good mystery stories into the bargain, I also recommend Caroline Roe’s “Isaac of Girona” series. Congratulations to Lewis Weinstein on a job well done, and some truly impressive support for The Heretic from notable people such as Elie Wiesel and Cardinal O’Connor, among others.

Thank you, Lisa

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* The Heretic … a beautiful portrayal of a Jewish family as they try to live in a culture that denies their humanity

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2014

The Heretic - for blog

***

 excerpts from Paul Fadoju’s Dec 10, 2013 review of

“The Heretic” on Goodreads.com

A touching well written book. Set during the Spanish Inquisition it shows the beautiful portrayal of a Jewish Family as they try to live in a culture that denies their humanity. I was touched with the tapestry of their lives, the length they went to live the lives that was true to themselves….and as you go through their struggles, you ask yourself a simple question … what would I do in their situation? This ugly part of the Christian history is not well known to the modern church and it’s nice to know that society is moving to an enlighten era where we are tolerant to others who are not like us and long may it continue where we can all celebrate the Humanity that we all share together.

Thanks Lewis, your work is over a decade old

but speaks volume to the new generation.

***

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* The Key West Literary Seminar … a spectacular experience

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 24, 2014

Gerritsen, Connelly, Burke, Koryta

Tess Gerritsen, Michael Connelly, Alafair Burke, Michael Koryta

The 32nd annual Key West Literary Seminar, called THE DARK SIDE, focused on mystery and crime. The roster of authors included (1st weekend): Gillian Flynn, Sara Parestky, Joseph Kanon, Carl Hiaasen, Laura Lippman, Scott Turow and (2nd weekend): Elizabeth George, Lisa Unger, Lee Child, Malla Nunn, John Banville/Benjamin Black, Thomas Cook, Percival Everett, Kent Krueger, Michael Connelly, Michael Koryta, Tess Gerritsen and James Hall. There were individual presentations and panel discussions, and the chance to meet the authors. Pat and I attended the 2nd week.

***

Elizabeth George gave a brilliant keynote address titled “Writing in the Dark, from the Dark, about the Dark.” Later in the week, we had the opportunity to listen to Elizabeth, take her to lunch, and then have her at our home for pizza and to watch the Seattle Seahawks win their way into the Super Bowl. And, by the way, I think her latest – Just One Evil Act – is the best in a great series. I had her autograph her book – Write Away – which is the best book on writing I have ever read.

EG composite

***

One of the great things about the KWLS is that the authors are easily accessible and very personable. Here is Pat with several of the many authors we chatted up.

Pat with Unger, Banville, Collins, Child, Hiaasen

Pat with Unger, Banville, Collins, Hiaasen and Child

***

On Friday afternoon, we were walking along Duval Street when Michael Connelly – yes, that Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch, Lincoln Lawyer) – came walking towards us. He came over to me and said, “Lew, I have something to show you.” Taking out his cell phone, he thumbed through his photos and showed me a photo of my book The Heretic.

“I found this in my room,” he said. Pat and I had spoken briefly with Michael at a cocktail party the previous night, but I am just dumfounded that he made the connection and then was kind enough to show me what he had found. He is not only a great author, but a very nice man.

Lew & Connelly, Heretic

***

With all the well-known names, one of the pleasures of the KWLS is to meet new authors, like Malla Nunn, who writes crime stories set in South Africa. I have started to read Malla’s Let The Dead Lie and it is terrific. So is she. Pat and I spoke with her several times, including lunch together at the seminar’s concluding Conch Chowder Lunch.

Malla Nunn

Malla Nunn

***

Added to the excitement of meeting so many great authors were the significant insights I received – from every session – into aspects of my own writing: how the slow building of dread can work even if you know the ending … people want to know the secrets behind the events … seeking out time-specific sensibilities … the private thoughts of historical characters, expressed in historical fiction permits a more illuminating portrayal than the history itself … characters lie (especially if they are the Nazis in the novel I am currently writing) … use, and choose when to reveal, the character’s misconceptions and purposeful lies. Thinking about writing is, for me, the main benefit of the sessions.

***

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* Fergie’s review of “The Heretic” on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 8, 2014

The Heretic - for blog

Fergie’s review

The Heretic is a wonderfully written novel about the Spanish Inquisition and the impact it had on the Jewish population in the 15th century. In Lewis Weinstein’s able hands, the history of Jewish culture trying to survive the Anti-Semitic acts of that era survive. In fact, Weinstein describes with great deft, the roots of Anti-Semitic views in Europe.

I read this book in one day, finding it difficult to put down. History, action, and love all abound in this book. Also present is the notion of ignorance and the discrimination that extends from it.

The Catholic Church’s sins are outlined historically and accurately in the book. To understand history is to make an effort not to repeat it. Had the world taken greater note of the issues described so well by Mr. Weinstein, perhaps the world, and most notably, the Jewish population, may not have been forced to suffer through the Holocaust.

Students of history should read this book. People of the Catholic and Jewish faiths should read this book. It may sound like an over-reaching statement, but I believe that all humanity would be well-served reading this book. Once you read the foreward, you’ll be compellingly hooked.

***

Thank you, Fergie.

***

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* Laura’s (5*****) review of THE HERETIC by Lew Weinstein

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 3, 2013

The Heretic - for blog

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Laura rated THE HERETIC 5 of 5 stars (on Goodreads) …

“Thank you Lewis Weinstein for this fabulous book! It moved me so deeply… I admire your art and your research. “The Heretic” educated me, and the Catalan family now lives in my heart.”

.

***

for links my 4 published novels

and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/welcome_to_my_author_blog/

***********************************

4 novels + author

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* excerpts from Judie’s (5 *****) review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 21, 2013

The Heretic - for blog

.

excerpts from Judie’s review 

… THE HERETIC provides an intriguing story of life in Spain during the 15th Century.

… It grabbed and held my interest, making me want to learn more about the characters, both the good and bad ones.

… The book presents well-told explanations of the political situation at the time between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It tells why and how Spain introduced the Inquisition and what it meant to the people involved.

… I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in … the Inquisition … the history of printing … the history of Christianity … the relationships between (Christianity) and other religions.

… Weinstein tells how Christianity developed as Jews rejected the message of the original Christians. He suggests a major reason for anti-Semitism was the fear that if the Jews were right in their beliefs, then Christians must be wrong.

… “What if the Jews are still God’s Chosen People? What if Christ is not the Jewish Messiah? What if the Old Law of Moses is not invalid? If the Jews are right, then what is left to Christianity?”

… Weinstein provides information about the lives of the rulers of Spain at that time beginning with King Enrique, a rather inept monarch and brother to the future Queen Isabella. He also provides a theory of why Isabella, who had good relationships with Jews, became a supporter of the Inquisition.

***

The end of the book includes references for further reading. A study guide is also available at the author’s blog … https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/2013/04/22/discussion-questions-for-the-heretic/

***

for more posts about THE HERETIC, click >>> 

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/category/the-heretic/

***

also in praise of THE HERETIC …

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/2012/06/13/praise-for-the-heretic/

wiesel & dershowitz.

Elie Wiesel & Alan Dershowitz have lauded THE HERETIC

***

for links my 4 published novels and my new novel in progress, CLICK >>>  

https://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/welcome_to_my_author_blog/

4 novels + author

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* Lew’s first international book signing

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 25, 2013

What do you do when in Madrid? Go to the bookstore and see if your book is on the shelf. It was! Hereje (The Heretic in Spanish) was published a year ago. What a thrill! So I did my first international book signing.

book signing in Madrid

Purchase The Heretic at …

http://www.amazon.com/The-Heretic-ebook/dp/B0032UY4MA/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374777849&sr=1-4&keywords=The+Heretic

Posted in * THE HERETIC, *** appearances & news | 6 Comments »

* Discussion questions for The Heretic … a novel of Jewish history in the 15th c.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 22, 2013

The Heretic - new cover

I was recently asked to prepare discussion questions for a book club that is reading The Heretic. Here’s my list …

NOTE: I can do book club appearances via SKYPE anywhere in the world.

***

Discussion questions for The Heretic, a novel by Lewis M. Weinstein

1. Did you know about the Church’s persecution of Jews in 15th c. Spain? Did you find it surprising?

2. What do you think prompted the Church’s actions?

3.Was the description of the earliest printing interesting to you?

4. What did you know about Queen Isabel before reading The Heretic? Were you surprised by her portrayal in the book?

5. How would you compare the relationships between …

… Gabriel & Pilar

… Tomas & Esther

… Isabel & Fernando

… Tomas & Isabel

6. Why did the attempts to convert the Jews of Spain not work out as anticipated?

7. What did you think of Prince Hasan, and his friendship with Benjamin and Esther?

8. Did Prince Hasan conform to your image of a Moorish leader?

9. Why do you think the author selected 15th c. Spain for exploring the issues of hatred of Jews?

10. Do you see a connection between the Church’s attitude toward Jews in 15th c. Spain and the Church’s behavior in Germany before and during the Holocaust?

11. What did you learn about Judaism, and the connections between Judaism and Christianity?

12. What did you think of Tomas’s discussion with the rabbi in Seville regarding the plausibility of the virgin birth of Christ?

13. Did you think Friar Perez believed in the mission he had been assigned or did he have doubts?

14. Who do you think was the ultimate victor in the battle between Friar Perez and Gabriel Catalan?

15. What were the most emotional scenes for you? Did you cry?

16. Which do you remember as the most memorable scenes?

17. Were there scenes that made you cringe? Do you think those scenes were necessary to the story?

18. Was there anything in the story you found not quite believable?

19. How true do you think the story was to the actual history?

20. Were you surprised at the positive reaction of Catholic leaders to this book which is surely not a flattering portrayal of the Church?

21. Were you curious how the author got blurbs from Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz … (those are, by the way, two fascinating stories)

wiesel & dershowitz.

Elie Wiesel & Alan Dershowitz

***

purchase The Heretic at amazon …

$5.99 in Kindle (also available for Nook) … $14.95 in paper

The Heretic

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* a new review of THE HERETIC on Goodreads

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 28, 2013

Heretic & Hereje

Laura Uplinger‘s review of The Heretic
… Mar 23, 2013
… 5 of 5 stars

 
.

“Thank you Lewis Weinstein for this fabulous book!

It moved me so deeply … I admire your art and your research.
.
“The Heretic” educated me,
.
and the Catalan family now lives in my heart.”
.
***
.
The Heretic is available on amazon in print ($14.95) or kindle ($5.99).
Click below …
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.
***

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* reviews of Hereje … translated from the Spanish

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2013


Heretic & Hereje

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*** This is a story that combines history and feelings in a masterful way, where the adventures of a family saga follows the evolution of the history of Spain, in its most gruesome, a book that shows the social ascent, servility, betrayal , love, righteousness in ideas, obsession and hope.

***  A well-documented historical novel in which the author, brings to each of his characters, to a different reality, reflecting the difficult lives of those who chose another religion in a state dominated by intolerant Catholic church of the time.

*** Gabriel Catalan has seen the death of his father, a Jewish convert, beaten in the streets of Seville, and make the decision to continue practicing the faith of their elders. But times are tough for the Spanish Jews, and Torquemada just sent to Seville the Dominican Ricardo Perez with the mission of exposing the converts that still practiced Judaism in secret.

 *** Heretic is a great recreation of the life of the Jews in Spain in the fifteenth century, caught between political intrigues and religious persecution.

***

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* Hereje (The Heretic) Spanish sales results for 2012

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 19, 2013

HEREJE-Spanish cover

***

Just received from my Spanish publisher algaida editores …

an accounting of sales  for Hereje for 2012 …

1134 copies sold.

Hereje is the Spanish edition of The Heretic, published in 2000.

It tells the story of a family of secret Jews struggling to survive

the persecution of the Catholic Church in 15th century Spain

on the eve of the Spanish Inquisition.

***

purchase Hereje at amazon …

http://www.amazon.com/Hereje-Heretic-Spanish-Lewis-Weinstein/dp/8498777291/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363720935&sr=1-1&keywords=hereje+weinstein

***

purchase The Heretic at amazon …

http://www.amazon.com/The-Heretic-ebook/dp/B0032UY4MA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363721005&sr=1-1&keywords=the+heretic+weinstein

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* Lew’s 4 published novels

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 19, 2013

Lew's 4 novels rev Feb 2013

* The Heretic    * A Good Conviction    * Case Closed    * The Pope’s Conspiracy

.

Posted in * A GOOD CONVICTION, * CASE CLOSED, * THE HERETIC, * THE POPE'S CONSPIRACY | Leave a Comment »

* an enthusiastic new review of “The Heretic” on Goodreads … “History, action, and love all abound in this book.”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 6, 2012

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The Heretic and Hereje (Spanish edition published in 2012)

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Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz and Faye Kellerman praise The Heretic

Elie Wiesel: The Heretic is deeply absorbing … it helps Jews and Christians better understand their complex and often painful relationship.

Alan M. Dershowitz: The historical novel that is both true to the past and relevant to the present is rare indeed. The Heretic humanizes the tragic history of religious persecution.

Faye Kellerman: The Heretic is a sweeping historical tale of love, honor, justice, religion, and morality, meticulously researched and wonderfully exciting. (author Faye Kellerman has written two historical novels as well as her hugely popular detective series)

******

 

A new review of The Heretic was just posted on Goodreads by Fergie …

The Heretic is a wonderfully written novel about the Spanish Inquisition and the impact it had on the Jewish population in the 15th century. In Lewis Weinstein’s able hands, the history of Jewish culture trying to survive the Anti-Semitic acts of that era survive. In fact, Weinstein describes with great deft, the roots of Anti-Semitic views in Europe.

I read this book in one day, finding it difficult to put down. History, action, and love all abound in this book. Also present is the notion of ignorance and the discrimination that extends from it.

The Catholic Church’s sins are outlined historically and accurately in the book. To understand history is to make an effort not to repeat it. Had the world taken greater note of the issues described so well by Mr. Weinstein, perhaps the world, and most notably, the Jewish population, may not have been forced to suffer through the Holocaust.

  • Students of history should read this book.
  • People of the Catholic and Jewish faiths should read this book.
  • It may sound like an over-reaching statement, but I believe that all humanity would be well-served reading this book.

Once you read the foreword, you’ll be compellingly hooked.

******

from the Foreword to The Heretic by Msgr. Tom Hartman

 The Heretic, a book by Lewis Weinstein, was where I turned in order to understand the Inquisition.  I knew the outline of Christian atrocities but Lew’s book taught me about the painful positions many good people were put into in order to survive.  It’s not a pretty picture.  Their lives were all scarred in one way or another.  But The Heretic reminds us of a history that we should not forget.

******

read … The Heretic: PROLOGUE

 

“No. Don’t go out there,” she pleads.

“You stay inside,” he orders.

She shouts to her son. “Run! Get your father. Hurry!” She follows her father-in-law to the door, horrified by what she fears will happen.

The old man reaches the street just as the first of them come around the corner. He walks straight at them — they shrink back — the crowd has not yet gained the courage to attack one who is not afraid. They shout.

“Jewish pig!”

“Christ killer!”

“Devil worshipper!”

He raises his hands, and surprisingly, the crowd quiets.

“Why do you call me Jew?” he says softly. “I’m baptized just as you.”

“Liar! We know what you converso Jews do. You don’t work on Saturday, and you don’t eat pork. You just pretend to be Christian.”

“That’s not true. I gave up the Jewish religion long ago. I wet my head in your baptismal water and I’ve been a good Christian ever since.”

He smiles, laughs almost, knowing they are not convinced, that nothing he says will ever change their minds. But he is not afraid. He stands taller. He is eerily calm.

“You say I’m a Jew. Why? I don’t pray to the God of Israel. I go to church and take the sacraments. My son is not circumcised.”

He turns away. They follow. He spins to face them. It is time, after so many years. Time to be a Jew.

“Is this what you want?” he thunders.

Deliberately, he places his high crowned hat on his head. He tugs under his cloak and removes a long white scarf, the Jewish prayer shawl, the tallit. He holds it solemnly in front of him, aged eyes straining to see faded words. He prays silently, in Hebrew: Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by Thy commandments, and has commanded us to wrap ourselves in tallit.

He raises and twists the tallit. The pure white fabric unfolds, soars majestically and lands gently on his shoulders. He lifts it to cover his head. His face is hidden. He closes his eyes tightly. He is in another place.

He prays, she thinks, for the years he has lost, and perhaps also for the years ahead, though not for him: O God of Israel Who desires repentance, allow me to repent for the foolishness of my baptism. O God of Israel Who forgives, forgive me for willfully discarding Your commandments. O God of Israel Who redeems His people, accept me, and allow me once again to walk in Your ways.

He raises his voice, knowing the effect the strange sounding Hebrew words will have.

Hear O Israel … the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

          The crowd gasps. Swords are raised.

“Jesus of Nazareth is not God!” he shouts. “There is only one God, and He is the God of Israel!”

The first sword explodes against the side of his head, knocking his hat to the ground. A second shining blade slices into his shoulder. Bloodied, he does not fall. He says the Hebrew words slowly, powerfully.

Blessed is the Name of His glorious Kingdom for all eternity

          The bloody sword flashes again, and he smiles, the last act of his life.

Now they all find courage. They know how to stomp on a dead man. Clubs and stones obliterate his features. Stabs to his chest. His tunic dark red.

She hears the horses a split second before the mob looks up. Her husband runs into the square, six armed men behind him. The mob retreats, its anger spent. He wraps the body of his father in his cloak, cradles the corpse gently in his arms, walks slowly into the house.

The young boy bends to retrieve his grandfather’s bloody tallit from where it has fallen.

 ******

More Praise for The Heretic

from secular sources …

Rick Steves’ Spain:To get the feel of Spain past and present, check out these three books: For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway); Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes); and The Heretic (Lewis Weinstein)

Professor Jane S. Gerber:I couldn’t put the book down and was thoroughly absorbed in the character development and plot line. The Heretic is the best book I have encountered using Sephardic history as the backdrop.  (Professor Gerber is the Director of the Institute for Sephardic Studies at the CUNY Graduate School and the author of The Jews of Spain.)

Midwest Book Review:a superbly written debut novel of political intrigue … Weinstein is a master storyteller … The Heretic leaves the reader looking eagerly toward his next literary effort.

Renaissance Magazine: vivid and descriptive, breathtaking detail.

from Catholic sources …

Monsignor Thomas Hartman:  a compelling read … the book is historically accurate.

John Cardinal O’Connor:  “The Spanish Inquisition of which you write in The Heretic was just one tragic event out of many in the Jewish-Catholic encounter.  (Cardinal O’Connor was the Archbishop of New York)

Bishop John J. Snyder:  an absorbing and challenging story … an important epic. (Bishop Snyder is the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine and a member of the U.S. Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.)

Dr. Eugene J. Fisher: My predecessor, Fr. Edward Flannery, used to say that we Christians have torn out of our history books all the pages the Jews remember.  The Heretic may help redress that serious imbalance in historical memory between our two ancient peoples.  (Dr. Fisher is Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, National Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

from Jewish sources …

The Jewish Press: a breathtaking tour de force … historically accurate and unusually entertaining … an exciting page turner.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: compelling and gripping depiction

Hadassah Magazine: a captivating first novel.

The Jerusalem Post: Weinstein portrays his characters as real people living in a very frightening period … exciting, interesting and very readable epic.

San Diego Jewish Times: a mesmerizing novel about all those things that make us humane and caring human beings

Detroit Jewish News: literary brilliance, exciting action, romance, cinematic action on paper

Jewish Week: a stirring novel, much period detail … much to say about family, faith and Jewish identity.

******

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* Hereje noted in Princeton Alumni Weekly

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 20, 2012

Hereje is the Spanish translation of The Heretic, a novel by Lew Weinstein first published in English in 2000. It was published in Spanish in 2012.

The Heretic (Hereje)

By Lew Weinstein ’62
Posted on May 31, 2012

(Algaida) The Heretic, set in 15th century Spain, follows a Jewish family facing persecution from the Catholic Church in the years leading up to the Spanish Inquisition. As the main character, Gabriel, decides not to renounce his religion and continues to embrace his Jewish faith in secret, his family has to contend with a series of threats and dangers. Weinstein is the author of four novels.

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* praise for The Heretic … Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, John Cardinal O’Connor, Faye Kellerman, Rick Steves, Bishop John J. Snyder, Hadassah Magazine … many others

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 13, 2012

Elie Wiesel: As a story, The Heretic is deeply absorbing – but also helps Jews and Christians better understand their complex and often painful relationship.

.

Alan M. Dershowitz: The historical novel that is both true to the past and relevant to the present is rare indeed. The Heretic helps us to understand why the Pope is correct in insisting that the Catholic Church do much more to seektschuva – forgiveness and redemption – for its monumental sins and crimes against the Jewish people.  The Heretic humanizes the tragic history of religious persecution.

Faye Kellerman: The Heretic is a sweeping historical tale of love, honor, justice, religion and morality, meticulously researched and wonderfully exciting.

.

Rick Steves’ Spain 2007: To get the feel of Spain past and present, check out a few of these books: The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Death in the Afternoon (Ernest Hemingway); Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes); The Heretic (Lewis Weinstein); and Tales of the Alhambra (Washington Irving).

Monsignor Thomas Hartman: I found The Heretic a compelling read.  I felt the emotion.  I kept wishing it would turn out differently, but of course I knew it wouldn’t.  Unfortunately, the book is historically accurate.  The Church has treated Jews horribly over the years, and we were wrong.  It is important for Catholics to know what was done and the impact it has had, even in this century, if we are to continue Pope John Paul’s initiatives to build a different path to the future. (Father Tom Hartman is the co-host of The God Squad, and the Director of Radio and Television for the Diocese of Rockville Center.)

Hadassah Magazine: The Heretic is a captivating first novel. For anyone who wants to know why Jews have long memories regarding tragedies of the past, this well-researched narrative is valuable reading for Jew and non-Jew.  But as much as The Heretic is a story of horror and destruction, it contains, as all Jewish stories must, the kernel of perpetual hope and rebirth. 

David A. Harris:  This book should come with a warning label: don’t start reading it unless you’re prepared to put everything else aside until you finish.  The Heretic is powerful, riveting, and inspiring.  It should be a must read Catholics and Jews.  (Mr. Harris is Executive Director of The American Jewish Committee.)

Midwest Book Review: The Heretic is a superbly written debut novel of political intrigue that adds a definitively human touch to the terrible ills of religious persecution. Weinstein is a master storyteller, and The Heretic leaves the reader looking eagerly toward his next literary effort.

The Jewish Press: The Heretic is a breathtaking tour de force that is both historically accurate and unusually entertaining. Weinstein’s book has captured the spice and flavor of 15th century Spain. It is a truly exciting page turner.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: The Heretic is a compelling and gripping depiction of the hatred wreaked by religious fanaticism directed at both Jews and “conversos” in 15th century Spain.  The lives, loves and tragedies of the characters, fictional and historical, come alive, inviting the reader to see, feel and share their emotions.  The Heretic is a must read for both Jews and Christians as we engage in dialogue to explore the depths of devastation and destruction unleashed by religious fanaticism, yesterday and today.

John Cardinal O’Connor:  “The Spanish Inquisition of which you write in The Heretic was just one tragic event out of many in the Jewish-Catholic encounter.  As we freely admit the sins of many of our Catholic brothers and sisters over the centuries, we can move on, hopefully liberated by the truth and reminded by it to challenge hatred and intolerance in our present time. (Cardinal O’Connor was the Archbishop of New York.  He wrote these comments shortly before his death.)

The Jerusalem Post: Weinstein portrays his characters as real people living in a very frightening period, bringing to life the fanaticism of the period, highlighting for both Jews and Christians alike the dangers of intolerance.  He has written an exciting, interesting and very readable epic.

Bishop John J. Snyder:  I found The Heretic an absorbing and challenging story.  From one perspective it was not easy reading since it presents us with a part of the Church’s history that we would rather not face.  However, it brings home to us the reality of our sinfulness and the discrimination and violence that is part of our story.  We can and must seek forgiveness for the past but even more importantly we are challenged not to follow that path in the years to come. My gratitude to you for sharing this important epic with me. (Bishop Snyder is the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine and a member of the U.S.Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.)

Professor Jane S. Gerber: I couldn’t put the book down and was thoroughly absorbed in the character development and plot line. The Heretic is the best book I have encountered using Sephardic history as the backdrop.  (Professor Gerber is Professor of History and Director, Institute for Sephardic Studies at the Graduate School of the City University of New York, and the author of The Jews of Spain.)

Lorraine Gordon:  When I finished reading your wonderful novel, I wished I had another one just like it.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Heretic.  As a matter of fact, it has the same appeal as Noah’s books have for me … well-drawn characters, interesting history, and an absorbing story.”  (Ms. Gordon is the wife of author Noah Gordon.)

Dr. Eugene J. Fisher: My predecessor, Fr. Edward Flannery, used to say that we Christians have torn out of our history books all the pages the Jews remember.  The Heretic may help redress that serious imbalance in historical memory between our two ancient peoples.  If so, you will have done a mitzvah for the Church, and for future generations of Catholics and Jews.  (Dr. Fisher is Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, National Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

Rabbi Leon Klenicki:  I want to tell you how much I appreciate The Heretic.  Its historical view, the vividness of portraying characters and situations, surrounded me immediately and made me feel in situ.  I will recommend The Hereticto my Christian friends.  (Rabbi Klenicki was, until recently, the director of the Department of Jewish-Christian Relations of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.)

Rabbi Emanuel Rackman:  The Heretic is an electrifying work.  (Rabbi Rackman is the Chancellor of Bar-Ilan University.)

.

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Historical Novel Review: Steeped in late medieval culture, immerses the reader in a world of religious intolerance and cross-cultural cooperation. Characters, both fictional and historical, are vital living beings, well motivated, true-to-life and, more importantly, true to the period. The narrative is compelling, sweeping the reader along on a well-paced journey, while the setting comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of medieval Spain. The history of the relationship between the Jewish people and the Christians is incorporated in a believable way so that readers become acquainted with the historical background behind the rise of the Inquisition.

Curled Up With A Good Book: Weinstein sets his dramatic novel in the bloody upheaval of the Spanish Inquisition. The great Dominican purges of 1391 and 1412 have created a large number of conversos, those willing to relinquish their faith and embrace Christianity rather than be burned at the stake as heretics. Weinstein reveals the ugly face of intolerance, fanatics demanding blood sacrifice in one of the most brutal periods of history, Jews and conversos scattering before the sword of Christianity, one great religion pitted against another. God watches His children destroyed in His name.

Jewish Week: a stirring novel, much period detail, with fictional as well as actual events and historical figures. Much to say about family, faith and Jewish identity.

.

First Things, The Journal of Religious and Public Life: reflects the conflicted motives that led churchmen to cooperate with the royal effort to “purify” the Spanish nation … vividly dramatizing the sins which John Paul II has asked Christians to candidly acknowledge

Sephardic Image: a compelling historical novel (set against) a backdrop of political and religious upheaval. Intriguing portraits of real historical figures, enthralling fictional treatment of a pivotal point in history. A historical novel with a message about the future (and) special relevance for our time.

Midstream: The Heretic revives a world of the past. It’s historical reimagining sings. It will captivate you.

Renaissance Magazine: an affirmation of faith, inspirational, vivid and descriptive, breathtaking detail.

San Diego Jewish Times: a mesmerizing novel about all those things that make us humane and caring human beings

Detroit Jewish News: literary brilliance, exciting action, romance, cinematic action on paper

******

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* The Heretic … read the Prologue

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 28, 2012

“No. Don’t go out there,” she pleads.   “You stay inside,” he orders.  She shouts to her son. “Run! Get your father. Hurry!”

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* a review of The Heretic in the Historical Novels Review

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 22, 2012

Spanish edition published Feb 2012

The narrative is compelling, sweeping the reader along on a well-paced journey, while the setting comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of medieval Spain. 

  • Set in fifteenth century Spain, The Heretic by Lewis Weinstein tells the story of a converso Christian who rediscovers his Jewish roots, with dire consequences.
  • Steeped in late medieval culture, the novel immerses the reader in a world of religious intolerance and cross-cultural cooperation.
  • Mr. Weinstein clearly did a wealth of research and manages to weave most of it in skillfully. 
  • His characters, both fictional and historical, are vital living beings, well motivated, true-to-life and, more importantly, true to the period. 
  • Gabriel Catalan, his wife Pilar, their son Tomas and daughter-in-law Esther, shine through the book, confronting their past and fighting for a future for their family.
  • Set against the turbulent period in Spanish history just prior to the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition, the story follows Gabriel’s quest to preserve the great works of Judaism using the newly invented printing press. 
  • He and his family risk their lives to keep their activities hidden from the Church authorities, most notably from the Dominican monk, Friar Ricardo Perez, a protégé of Torquemada.
  • The history of the relationship between the Jewish people and the Christians is incorporated in a believable way so that readers become acquainted with the historical background behind the rise of the Inquisition.

******

This review first appeared in the August 2000 issue of The Historical Novels Review.

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* Richard John Neuhaus on The Heretic … vividly dramatizing the sins that John Paul II has asked Christians to candidly acknowledge

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2009

Richard John Neuhaus wrote in First Things, A Journal of Religion, Culture and Public Life

A novel of generations of conversos– Jews who converted to Christianity- during the years leading up to the Spanish Inquisition. The story reflects the conflicted motives that led churchmen to cooperate with the royal effort to “purify” the Spanish nation, vividly dramatizing the sins that John Paul II has asked Christians to candidly acknowledge. The Heretic is a valuable contribution to understanding a tragedy too often debated in the mire of accusation and defensiveness.

Posted at … http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=2696

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* Tikkun … The Heretic is an engaging and enlightening novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2009

This multi-generational tale is set in fifteenth-century Spain, in the land that was the heart, and heat, of an inquisition against those who were alleged to be heretics against the Christian faith.

Gabriel Catalan’s Jewish father was forced to convert to Christianity, but Gabriel remains a covertly faithful Jew. He becomes wealthy and influential as an advisor to the throne, and a confidant of Princess Isabel. But he is forced to confront the fanatical friar Ricardo Perez, a Dominican monk determined to rid Spain of Jewish heretics. Friar Perez suspects that Gabriel Catalan is in fact a Jew.

The Heretic is an engaging and enlightening novel set against a uniquely dark age of religious persecution and cruelty.

Posted at … http://www.tikkun.org/archive/backissues/xtik0101/culture/010162.html

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* The Jewish Press … The Heretic is a breathtaking tour de force

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2009

Aharon ben Anshel reviews the Heretic in the The Jewish Press …

 The Heretic is a history of the early beginnings of the Spanish Inquisition in novelized form – a breathtaking tour de force that is both historically accurate and unusually entertaining, so that one can almost finish the nearly 400 pages in just two or three sittings.

Weinstein’s book has accurately captured the spice and flavor of fifteenth-century Spain and the time of Torquemada, Ferdinand and Isabella.

This success is validated by the foreword written by Msgr. Thomas J. Hartman (of TV’s “The G-d Squad”), who wrote: “The Heretic” was where I turned in order to understand the Inquisition. I knew the outline of Christian atrocities, but Lew’s book taught me about the painful positions many good people were put into in order to survive. It’s not a pretty picture.

The Heretic is a truly exciting page-turner.

Posted at … http://www.jewishpress.com/content.cfm?contentid=15797&sContentid=1

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* Midwest Book Review … The Heretic is a superbly written debut novel

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2009

Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

The Heretic is a superbly written debut novel of political intrigue by Lewis Weinstein that adds a definitively human touch to the terrible ills of history and religious persecution. Depicting a family of Jews living in Seville on the eve of the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th century, The Heretic is a thoughtful and thought-provoking historical story of the abuse of power and tests of faith that were anything but. The Heretic clear documents Lewis Weinstein as a master storyteller and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward his next literary effort.

 posted at … http://www.amazon.ca/Heretic-Lewis-Weinstein/dp/0967134803

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* Rick Steves recommends The Heretic

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2009

Spain is overwhelmingly rich in history, art and culture.

Preliminary reading will help you get the most from your trip 

***

Fiction (Spain)

Don Quixote — Miguel de Cervantes

Tales of the Alhambra — Washington Irving

The Sun Also Rises: For Whom the Bell Tolls — Ernest Hemingway

The Heretic — Lewis Weinstein

***

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* Curled Up With a Good Book … a dramatic novel set in the bloody upheaval of the Spanish Inquisition

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2009

Weinstein sets his dramatic novel in the bloody upheaval of the Spanish Inquisition. The great Dominican purges of 1391 and 1412 have created a large number of conversos, those willing to relinquish their faith and embrace Christianity rather than be burned at the stake as heretics.

After centuries of war with the Moors, Christianity is in its ascendancy, the Church brutal in its treatment of those under suspicion, the finger of doubt enough to send a man to the inquisitor’s torture chambers. Repeatedly the “conversos” are tormented by angry mobs of “old Christians.” The old Christians accuse the reformed Jews of secretly practicing the old religion, flouting the law of the land and the Holy Mother Church.

A successful goldsmith in Seville and a secret follower of the old ways, Gabriel Catalan has been conspiring with others to print copies of important Hebrew texts by means of Gutenberg’s revolutionary printing techniques and in collusion with Moorish royalty. Although the majority of the originals have been destroyed, Catalan is able to print many copies but must invoke the aid of his son, Tomas, to hide the texts from the Christians.

Gabriel aids a local family currently under suspicion as they quietly remove their belongings to a small village, where they will be safe from the daily violence and unprovoked attacks that have become endemic in Seville. Tomas travels with these conversos to their new home and falls in love with the daughter along the way, the whole family intent on seeking a safer life far from Spain, unaware that they are followed from Seville.

Meanwhile, the Catalan family is marked, unable to escape the aggressive principal arm of the Inquisition in Seville, Friar Ricardo Perez. The Inquisitor is the genius behind a trap that is slowly closing on the unsuspecting if careful Gabriel, a trap that will deliver Gabriel to the stake along with his devoted wife, Pilar.

As the principal characters attempt to leave behind a legacy for those who follow, the region is in chaos. The Moors divided, Christian Isabel seizes her opportunity to capture the Spanish throne and marry Ferdinand of Portugal. Their mission is to restore the grandeur of Christianity and subdue the unbelievers by any means necessary, the Inquisition a devastating tool in the success of their enterprise.

Seville in turmoil, suspicion and betrayal everywhere, the infamous Tourquemada joins Perez in pursuit of the Catalan family. Convicted by the messengers of God, the family is tied together and surrounded by burning stakes, yet another pyrrhic victory.

Weinstein reveals the ugly face of intolerance, fanatics demanding blood sacrifice in one of the most brutal periods of history, Jews and conversos scattering before the sword of Christianity. One great religion pitted against another, God watches His children destroyed in His name.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at http://www.curledup.com, this review was posted at … http://www.curledup.com/theretic.htm

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** The Heretic – read the Prologue

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 20, 2009

       “No. Don’t go out there,” she pleads.   “You stay inside,” he orders.  She shouts to her son. “Run! Get your father. Hurry!”

       She follows her father-in-law to the door, horrified by what she fears will happen.  The old man reaches the street just as the first of them come around the corner. He walks straight at them — they shrink back — the crowd has not yet gained the courage to attack one who is not afraid. They shout.       

       “Jewish pig! … Christ killer! … Devil worshipper!”      

       He raises his hands, and surprisingly, the crowd quiets.  “Why do you call me Jew?” he says softly. “I’m baptized just as you.”      

       “Liar! We know what you converso Jews do. You don’t work on Saturday, and you don’t eat pork. You just pretend to be Christian.”      

       “That’s not true. I gave up the Jewish religion long ago. I wet my head in your baptismal water and I’ve been a good Christian ever since.”      

       He smiles, laughs almost, knowing they are not convinced, that nothing he says will ever change their minds. But he is not afraid. He stands taller. He is eerily calm.  “You say I’m a Jew. Why? I don’t pray to the God of Israel. I go to church and take the sacraments. My son is not circumcised.”   

       He turns away. They follow. He spins to face them. It is time, after so many years. Time to be a Jew.  “Is this what you want?” he thunders.  Deliberately, he places his high crowned hat on his head. He tugs under his cloak and removes a long white scarf, the Jewish prayer shawl, the tallit. He holds it solemnly in front of him, aged eyes straining to see faded words. He prays silently, in Hebrew: “Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by Thy commandments, and has commanded us to wrap ourselves in tallit.”     

       He raises and twists the tallit. The pure white fabric unfolds, soars majestically and lands gently on his shoulders. He lifts it to cover his head. His face is hidden. He closes his eyes tightly. He is in another place.  He prays, she thinks, for the years he has lost, and perhaps also for the years ahead, though not for him: “O God of Israel Who desires repentance, allow me to repent for the foolishness of my baptism. O God of Israel Who forgives, forgive me for willfully discarding Your commandments. O God of Israel Who redeems His people, accept me, and allow me once again to walk in Your ways.”      

       He raises his voice, knowing the effect the strange sounding Hebrew words will have.  

Hebrew

“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God,the Lord is One.”        

       The crowd gasps. Swords are raised.       

       “Jesus of Nazareth is not God!” he shouts. “There is only one God, and He is the God of Israel!”      

       The first sword explodes against the side of his head, knocking his hat to the ground. A second shining blade slices into his shoulder.

       Bloodied, he does not fall. He says the Hebrew words slowly, powerfully. Blessed is the Name of His glorious Kingdom for all eternity.”       

       The bloody sword flashes again, and he smiles, the last act of his life.       

       Now they all find courage. They know how to stomp on a dead man. Clubs and stones obliterate his features. Stabs to his chest. His tunic dark red.      

       She hears the horses a split second before the mob looks up. Her husband runs into the square, six armed men behind him. The mob retreats, its anger spent. He wraps the body of his father in his cloak, cradles the corpse gently in his arms, walks slowly into the house.      

       The young boy bends to retrieve his grandfather’s bloody tallit from where it has fallen. 

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