The years following the expulsion of Jews from Spain and Portugal were frightening and turbulent. The Inquisition had poisoned the atmosphere. Storm, starvation, and disease claimed countless lives. Even in countries that took Jews in, anti-Semitism was barely contained, and the helpless, most penniless refugees were held in disdain, if not contempt.
In Spain and Portugal, there were courageous Marranos who were determined not to give in to the "inevitable." Some because rich and famous. A few used their prosperity to escape to places where - eventually - they could practice their Judaism, not only proudly, but openly.
The most prominent among them was Dona Gracia Nasi, the woman who became the outstanding Jewess of the century, and perhaps in a thousand years. She walked with kings and sultans. She aided her fellow Marranos and built new Torah communities. And she groomed her nephew and future son-in-law for a lifetime of service to his people. Don Yosef Nasi became the most powerful man in Turkey, but was always the patron of his people in Europe and Asai, and, with Dona Graci, established the first Jewish controlled community in Eretz Yisrael since the Exile.
This historical novel is an exciting story of intrigue and escape, of courage and cowardice, of battle and blockade, of loyalty and treachery. The escape from Portugal and the establishment of a new life under the sword of the Inquisition. Brave Dona Gracia is denounced as a Jew, and intrepid Don Yosef mobilizes the Turkish fleet to save her. The jealous courtiers of the Sultan conspire to undermine the influence - and life - of the hated Jew. The Jewish settlement in Tiberias is established thanks to Dona Gracia and Don Yosef.
This is an unforgettable and stirring book, one whose echoes will remain long after its last page is turned.