The Last Jew: A Novel of The Spanish Inquisition

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In the year 1492, the Inquisition has all of Spain in its grip. After centuries of pogrom-like riots encouraged by the Church, the Jews - who have been an important part of Spanish life since the days of the Romans - are expelled from the country by royal edict. Many who wish to remain are intimidated by Church and Crown and become Catholics, but several hundred thousand choose to retain their religion and depart; given little time to flee, some perish even before they can escape from Spain.

Yonah Toledano, the 15-year-old son of a celebrated Spanish silversmith, has seen his father and brother die during these terrible days - victims whose murders go almost unnoticed in a time of mass upheaval. Trapped in Spain by circumstances, he is determined to honor the memory of his family by remaining a Jew.

On a donkey named Moise, Yonah begins a meandering journey, a young fugitive zigzagging across the vastness of Spain. Toiling at manual labor, he desperately tries to cling to his memories of a vanished culture. As a lonely shepherd on a mountaintop he hurls snatches of almost forgotten Hebrew at the stars, as an apprentice armorer he learns to fight like a Christian knight. Finally, as a man living in a time and land where danger from the Inquisition is everywhere, he deals with the questions that mark his past. How he discovers the answers, how he finds his way to a singular and strong Marrano woman, how he achieves a life with the outer persona of a respected Old Christian physician and the inner life of a secret Jew, is the fabric of this novel. The Last Jew is a glimpse of the past, an authentic tale of high adventure, and a tender and unforgettable love story. In it, Noah Gordon utilizes his greatest strengths, and the result is remarkable and moving.

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A man travels to Israel to uncover a diamond’s remarkable past in this vivid historical saga from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Physician.

A diamond cutter and seller from a long, respected line of precious-gem dealers, New Yorker Harry Hopeman is intrigued by the story of the so-called “Jerusalem Diamond,” a magnificent yellow jewel rumored to date back to the biblical time of King Solomon. So when he’s asked to broker a deal that will return the legendary gemstone to Israel, he eagerly accepts.

Arriving in the volatile Middle East, Hopeman soon discovers that his assignment will be anything but easy. Representatives of the Holy Land’s three major religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are all laying claim to the priceless jewel that once adorned the miter of Pope Gregory, and they will do anything to possess it.

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International-bestselling author Noah Gordon—whose acclaimed historical novel The Physician was the inspiration for the major motion picture of the same name starring Ben Kingsley— “has packed a suspense tale with religious, historical and archeological underpinnings, along with fascinating insights into an industry whose conduct is generally shrouded from outside scrutiny” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Macmillan
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Published on
Mar 25, 2014
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781466866737
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Noah Gordon
A man travels to Israel to uncover a diamond’s remarkable past in this vivid historical saga from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Physician.

A diamond cutter and seller from a long, respected line of precious-gem dealers, New Yorker Harry Hopeman is intrigued by the story of the so-called “Jerusalem Diamond,” a magnificent yellow jewel rumored to date back to the biblical time of King Solomon. So when he’s asked to broker a deal that will return the legendary gemstone to Israel, he eagerly accepts.

Arriving in the volatile Middle East, Hopeman soon discovers that his assignment will be anything but easy. Representatives of the Holy Land’s three major religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are all laying claim to the priceless jewel that once adorned the miter of Pope Gregory, and they will do anything to possess it.

Partnering with Israeli government agent Tamar Strauss—a beautiful and courageous Yemenite war widow who inspires the visiting American’s passion as well as his respect—Hopeman is soon entangled in a web of mystery and intrigue that crosses continents and stretches back thousands of years. As the duo follows the twisting travels of the gem and the bloody conflicts it has ignited throughout its extraordinary past—a history that intertwines with Hopeman’s own family saga—the story of a breathtaking land and its people unfolds in all its drama and glory.

International-bestselling author Noah Gordon—whose acclaimed historical novel The Physician was the inspiration for the major motion picture of the same name starring Ben Kingsley— “has packed a suspense tale with religious, historical and archeological underpinnings, along with fascinating insights into an industry whose conduct is generally shrouded from outside scrutiny” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
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