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The Dark Days of the Spanish Inquisition - an Editorial Review of "The Heretic's Daughter"

Book Blurb:

‘Gripping and twisty. Everything a historical thriller should be’ Awais Khan, author of ‘No Honour’ As the Inquisition’s grip tightens Isaac and Isabel must choose between family and faith. Will they survive the consequences?

Isaac seeks revenge on Torquemada for murdering his wife and best friend. He’s not the only one who wants The Grand Inquisitor dead. The King commands Isaac to investigate. Should he save the man he hates? Fail and he loses the King’s protection — the only thing keeping him alive. Feeling abandoned by her father and con!icted by his heresy, Isabel sets out to discover the truth. The trail

leads to the darkest places in Seville. She’s unnerved by a shocking revelation and a surprising discovery about her real feelings. Can Isabel use what she unearths to save her father and their family?

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Author Bio:

Michael writes historical mysteries and has a particular interest in early 16th century Andalucia. He is fascinated by the interplay between cultures, globalization and religious intolerance of the period. The Isaac Alvarez mysteries are set against this rich background. He won a prize for his fiction at the 2020 Emirates Literature Festival and is an alumna of the Faber Academy’s Writing a Novel course.

Blood Libel, Michael’s debut novel, and Isaac’s first investigation was published in January 2021 . He is hard at work on the second book in the series and planning the third. Michael is originally from London but currently lives in Dubai with his family.

Editorial Review:

He kept the incense burner behind the counter, the Catholics did not appreciate the Mudejar's perfume. He would have ten running all day, but that would be provocative. He could not afford to lose Catholic patrons; there were not enough Mudejars left in Seville to keep his business alive. And there were no Jews left at all.

In "The Heretic's Daughter," the second instalment of Michael Lynes' enthralling series, readers are transported back to the harrowing era of the Spanish Inquisition. Continuing the story of Isaac Alvarez, a Jewish lawyer and financial advisor, Lynes delves into the dark and treacherous world of religious persecution and the fight for survival. With well-drawn characters, an engaging plot, and a rich historical backdrop, this book is a compelling and eye-opening read.

“What a strange God you worship, one who endorses inflicting pain on women and children.” The voice came from behind Andreas, who remained in the doorway. Isabel was wracked by shock, hope, and fear as the voice manifested itself into a physical presence.

Set in 1498, three years after the events of the first book “Blood Libel”, Isaac Alvarez finds himself still haunted by the loss of his wife, Maria, and his best friend, Juan Mota, at the hands of the Inquisition. In seeking an atonement for his own guilt, Isaac takes in Juana and Martin, the twin children of the late Mota couple, along with his own children, Isabel and Gabriel. Lynes skillfully weaves their individual stories together, creating a tapestry of love, loss, and resilience.

Isaac's unwavering determination to protect his loved ones is at the heart of the narrative. When Juana and Martin are kidnapped, Isaac embarks on a perilous journey, enlisting the help of his loyal friend, the Moorish apothecary Abu Ali Sina. The suspenseful plot takes readers on a winding narrative to Granada and back to Seville, where the true culprit behind the kidnappings is revealed. Not only that, but the reader is able to learn more about Isabel, the discoveries she makes and about her own feelings, choices (right or wrong) and her experiences in protecting those she loves... as well as sacrifices she must make which test her own faith.

Lynes expertly explores the characters' emotions and motivations, making them relatable and multidimensional. Isaac's steadfastness and courage in the face of adversity, snd Isabel's strength and resilience are beautifully portrayed, as well as the the menacing presence of Father Tomas Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, whose evilness adds an extra layer of tension and intrigue to the story. Torquemada's lustful obsession with Isabel is reminiscent of the priest Frollo's unhealthy desires for Esmeralda in Hugo's “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

“He told me things would go easier for her if...” She looked down at her fingers which were writhing against each other. “If I was kind to him, if I allowed him to...” She started to cry.

“Are you accusing Father Tomas of attempting to seduce you?” The Queen snarled in an incredulous tone.

"The Heretic's Daughter" sheds light on the often overlooked and grim chapter of Spanish history, the Spanish Inquisition. Lynes masterfully incorporates historical details and accurately portrays the religious intolerance and brutality of the era. Lynes brings a in-depth perspective and an authentic portrayal of the impact of the Inquisition on the Jewish community.

Through the eyes of Isaac and his family, readers gain insight into the daily struggles, fears, and sacrifices endured by the Jews during this dark period. This story helps the reader to draw thought-provoking parallels between the Spanish Inquisition and the later persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, emphasizing the cyclical nature of religious discrimination throughout history.

Lynes' writing style is fast-paced and accessible, making "The Heretic's Daughter" an effortless and engaging read. The author's ability to combine historical accuracy with a compelling fictional narrative is commendable. His descriptions are vivid and evocative, transporting readers back in time to the streets of 15th-century Spain. The dialogue flows naturally, allowing readers to connect deeply with the characters and their experiences.

"The Heretic's Daughter" by Michael Lynes is an outstanding novel that seamlessly combines historical fiction, suspense, and human drama. By shedding light on the Spanish Inquisition and its impact on the Jewish community, Lynes delivers a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant story. The well-drawn characters, intricate plot, and vivid historical backdrop make this book a must-read for anyone interested in this period of history or simply seeking an engrossing historical mystery tale.

Hadn't there been another way? No, she'd taken not just the righteous course but the right one, as painful as it was.

Lynes is able to connect the reader to the story and the characters, adding authenticity and emotional depth. With its fast-paced narrative and accessible writing style, "The Heretic's Daughter" is a book that will captivate readers from start to finish. Highly recommended for history enthusiasts, mystery lovers, fans of historical fiction, and anyone looking for a compelling and enlightening read.

In light of the book's success, it is delightful to know that a third instalment is on the horizon, promising even more captivating adventures and revelations. So don't hesitate—get your hands on "The Heretic's Daughter" and embark on a thrilling journey through the shadows of history.


“The Heretic's Daughter” by Michael Lynes receives five stars and the 'Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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