Francis King

Having Faith

Guardian of the Dawn


Constable 358pp £8.99 order from our bookshop

Few novels by a writer previously unknown to me have excited me as much as Richard Zimler’s international bestseller The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon. Set in Portugal at the close of the fifteenth century, it describes how King Manuel’s decision to convert, rather than expel, the Jews from his country resulted in many of them publicly embracing Christianity while at the same time secretly retaining their true faith. At the centre of a broad and brilliant canvas is the Zarco family, valiantly and sometimes disastrously attempting to come to terms with the new dispensation. Descendants of the same family, some three centuries later, provided the main characters in Zimler’s no less epic Hunting Midnight. Now, in this latest volume of what might be called Zimler’s ‘Sephardic Trilogy’, another Zarco, a young man called Tiago, is both protagonist and narrator.

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