On September 15, 1495, Bishop Pedro de Arbués, King Ferdinand’s Inquisitor, is mortally wounded by knife-wielding thieves. The assassination in the central cathedral of Zaragoza—during evening prayers, no less—throws the surrounding community into chaos. Though they condemn the crime as vehemently as their Christian neighbors, the Jewish residents are blamed for the bishop’s death. Mob retribution is quick and brutal, sparing few. This sweeping historical novel follows one fictional survivor, fourteen-year-old Moisés Ramón. His escape launches a multi-generational quest, unknowingly guided by Fate, for a new homeland for his beleaguered people—one finally free from religious persecution.
When Moisés flees Zaragoza, he carries with him two golden bracelets, slipped from the wrists of his dead mother––and the only tangible reminders of his beloved family. His exodus takes him and the bracelets to Portugal and aboard ship on a voyage of discovery to Brazil, Africa, and India. He escapes the Portuguese Inquisition by settling in the wilderness of northeast Brazil and begins his own family with the bracelets becoming a symbol of his undying love for his family in both the Old World and the New World. Generations of his descendants bear witness to the colonial period of Brazil’s northeast region, the influence of Converso Jews on the Brazilwood and sugar industries, the Dutch conquest, and the colony’s recapture by the Portuguese in 1654. When the merciless Inquisitors arrive in Brazil, this time it is Moisés’ descendant who flees their persecution. Only then is he able to finally fulfill his family’s Destiny, becoming the first Jew to settle in the New World.
Spanning more than 150 years and five continents, Golden Bracelets, Common Threads is an epic story of how Fate and Destiny become intertwined to shape the future of an entire people. First-time novelist Steven A. Vajda skillfully blends history and fiction to create an entertaining, fast-paced, and entirely believable novel about the importance of family and tradition and the common threads that bind generations and their beliefs.
About Steven A. Vajda
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Published March 9, 2010
History, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure.