Title: Prisoner of the Inquisition
Author: Theresa Breslin
Publisher: Corgi /Random House
Published: March 2011
The cover on this shows a luxurious dress with its wearer crouching down, complete with fancy scroll edging and matching artwork on the spine.
Zarita lives a life of luxury, privilege and wealth being the daughter of the town magistrate. She sees herself above most people because of her social class – which causes her to make tell a white lie at a very inopportune moment, a lie which will cost dearly and has devastating consequences.
Saulo is the son of a beggar with his own story to tell. When he witnesses his father being wrongfully accused, arrested and dealt with his life comes crashing down before him. He swears revenge on those who were to blame, and is hauled off to be a slave on a ship.
When the agents of the Inquisition arrive in town, no one is safe – least of all Zarita – as everyone clambers to win favour for themselves by being a traitors to their friends and neighbours. Amongst this backdrop, Zarita and Saulo meet in the royal court to meet the final conclusion.
This is a really well built up tale of social class, religion, morals, love and revenge. The Spanish Inquisition isn’t a period I’m familiar with, but this story breathed life into the horrors of betrayal and ‘justice’, as well as providing a very absorbing read. It showed the depths of humanity and how everyone behaved in such a stressful environment, as well as how far characters would go for both love, and hate. A very thought provoking book (would I have behaved the same – which character would suit me?) and one which I couldn’t put down until the very end, even though I guessed what the outcome was going to be.
“I was too scared to turn my head away. Father Bestian had made it clear that the townspeople were there to bear witness. Anyone who did not attend – unless seriously ill – anyone who looked away when punishment was being administered would be suspected of being a sympathiser.”
Book synopsis:Zarita, only daughter of the town magistrate, lives a life of wealth and privilege. Indulged by her parents, she is free to spend her days as she pleases, enjoying herself in the company of an eligible young nobleman, horse riding, or leisurely studying the arts.
Saulo, son of a family reduced by circumstances to begging, witnesses his father wrongfully arrested and dealt with in the most horrifying way. Hauled off to be a slave at sea and pursued by pirates he encounters the ambitious mariner explorer, Christopher Columbus. Throughout his hardships Saulo is determined to survive - for he has sworn vengeance on the magistrate and his family.
As Zarita's life also undergoes harsh changes the formidable and frightening Inquisition arrives in the area, bringing menacing shadows of suspicion with acts of cruel brutality - and ultimately, amid the intrigues of the court of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in the splendid Moorish city of Grenada, betrayal and revenge...