By Fire, By Water

  • by Mitchell James Kaplan
  • Narrated by Clinton Wade
  • 9 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Recipient of the Independent Publishers Award for Historical Fiction (Gold Medal), the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Historical Fiction (Bronze Medal), and an honorable mention in the category of General Fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award.
Luis de Santngel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Toms de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santngel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santngel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santngel can help him.
Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Captivating story, deserved better narration

3.5 stars.

I really liked the time period of this book. There isn't much historical fiction written from the perspective of Jewish people during the Spanish Inquisition. I loved most of the characters. That said, I was disappointed when 2 of my favorites died too early in my opinion. Also, I would've liked more action involving the Pope and the major historical characters. We all know that the Inquisition wouldn't have happened or at least wouldn't have been so bloody if the Vatican opposed it. Why didn't the Pope do more? To me, that's a central question that should be at least considered by a novel based in this setting.

The narration is passable. However, if you're accustomed to John Lee, Katherine Kellgren, Simon Vance, Nadia May, George Guidall... this is not on that level.

One caveat- this isn't for the faint of heart. If you're not familiar with this period: be warned. The Spanish Inquisition was gruesome. This book contains descriptions of religious persecution and torture. Its not gratuitous, and I'm not sure how it could've been omitted. But if you're sensitive to that, then skip this story. That's what it's about.

If you like historical fiction, are interested in a book that's NOT another Tudor/ Borgia/ Medici rehash, and can tolerate descriptions of violence, give this a try. I think you'll enjoy the story and learn from it as I did.
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- Annabells

Reader detracts from story

I've tried to finish this book but the reading makes it dull. The readers my is not smooth and conversational. I want a storyteller to enthrall me with a tale. Bit this reader is more like a nervous amateur reader.

I've bought the book on kindle and will read it myself.
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- Uzumejin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-02-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios