Jewish Values: Apprentice's Masterpiece, The

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310 p.
Ramon, 15, works with his father as an apprentice scribe in 15th century Spain. Aware of his Jewish roots (his great-great grandparents were baptized by force), he is fearful of being turned in to the Inquisition as a heretic. Like Ramon’s family, their young Muslim slave, Amir, is also persecuted by the Catholic Church and royalty. The Apprentice’s Masterpiece tells the story of the boys’ jealousy, adventures, compromises, sacrifices, and narrow escapes in this horrific and violent era. Jews/conversos and Muslims/moriscos demonstrate mutual respect and support because both groups are hunted by the Inquisition, “the great hymn to the glory of God” as it seeks a pure Christian Spain. Well written in free-verse style, the book is filled with historic details, including the way of life of a scribe before the development of the printing press, and the shocking actions of the Church. A prologue and epilogue place the story in its historical and geographic context. Once again, Jews are victims, and violent descriptions are not spared, but readers looking for a good story set in the Inquisition will not be disappointed.
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