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Sharan Newman, Author
Sharan Newman, Author . Forge $25.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0377-6
Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003

In a surprising twist, Newman's ninth engrossing medieval historical (after 2002's Heresy ) features not her usual heroine, Catherine LeVendeur, a French Catholic woman (with concealed Jewish lineage), but Catherine's earthy and virile cousin, Solomon—though she keeps their connection quiet because Solomon was raised Jewish. When Christians seize a young Jewish woman during the conquest of the Spanish city of Almeira, Solomon joins the rescue party. En route, he encounters his reviled father, Jacob, who has converted to Catholicism and is now a monk called Brother James. James is on an oddly similar mission—to ransom Catholic knights captured by Muslims. When a fellow monk dies in what appears to be a random attack, James, who's carrying the ransom money, fears he may be the killer's next target. Will the son he abandoned help him? Solomon's struggles between his Jewish heritage and his attachment to things secular will resonate with many readers, while the author's intriguing picture of a crusade-laden world with its battles among Jew, Catholic and Muslim is all too relevant and recognizable. (Dec. 10)

FYI: Newman has won the Romantic Times Bookclub's Career Achievement Award for Historical Mystery (1999).