From the internationally bestselling author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon comes a novel of incomparable scope and beauty that takes the reader on an epic journey from war-ravaged nineteenth-century Europe to antebellum America. A bereft child, a freed African slave, and the rich history of Portugal's secret Jews collide memorably in Richard Zimler's mesmerizing novel — a dazzling work of historical fiction played out against a backdrop of war and chaos that unforgettably mines the mysteries of devotion, betrayal, guilt, and forgiveness.
Set in Lisbon in 1506, a debut novel in the tradition of THE NAME OF THE ROSE. When his uncle, a renowned kabbalist, is found dead, Berekiah's investigations lead him into the secret ways in which the Jews sought to hide from their persecutors.
It's Autumn 1940. The Nazis seal 400,000 Jews inside a small area of the Polish capital, creating an urban island cut off from the outside world. Erik Cohen, an elderly psychiatrist, is forced to move into a tiny apartment with his niece and his beloved nine-year-old nephew, Adam. One bitterly cold winter's day, Adam goes missing. The next morning, his body is discovered in the barbed wire surrounding the ghetto. The boy's leg has been cut off, and a tiny piece of string has been left in his mouth. Soon, another body turns up – this time a girl's, and one of her hands has been taken. Evidence begins to point to a Jewish traitor luring children to their death…In this profoundly moving and darkly atmospheric historical thriller, the reader is taken into the most forbidden corners of Nazi-occupied Warsaw – as well as into the most heroic places of the heart. Praise for Richard Zimler: 'A riveting literary murder mystery, [The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon] is also a harrowing picture of the persecution of 16th-century Jews and, in passing, an atmospheric introduction to the hermetic Jewish tradition of the Kabbalah' – "Independent on Sunday". 'Zimler [is] a present-day scholar and writer of remarkable erudition and compelling imagination, an American Umberto Eco' – "Spectator". 'Zimler has this spark of genius, which critics can't explain but readers recognise, and which every novelist desires but few achieve' – "Independent". 'Zimler is an honest, powerful writer' – "Guardian".