The Apprentice's Masterpiece: A Story of Medieval Spain by Melanie Little (2009, Annick Press; 310 pages)
Fifteenth-century Spain is one of the most enlightened cultures on record - one in which Jews, Muslims, and Christians coexist within an atmosphere of respect. But then Queen Isabella enacts policies that put an abrupt end to the peace, and violence, mistrust and an intolerable intolerance shadow everyone as the Spanish Inquisition takes shape. Ramon Benveniste, a 15 year old, will have to hide a family secret in this fear-filled atmosphere. Ramon belongs to a family of conversos: Jews converted to Christianity. One day a young man is delivered to the door. Amir wears the robe and red patch of a Muslim. Soon, both Ramon and Amir are caught up in dramatic events they cannot escape.
This is a historical fiction book written in an elegant free verse. The theme resonates deeply inside of me, and the story is memorable. The characters capture perfectly well the turbulence of one of the most politically complex and troubling times in human history. We can learn a lot from this book to analyze events happening in our own times.
“The brief narrative poems are small gems of insight and emotion …and resonate with contemporary connections.” — VOYA, 06/08
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Find this title in our catalog: The Apprentice's Masterpiece
Recommended by: Maite