The Heretic’s Daughter is a crime thriller set in 15th century Andalusia. I do love history and especially religious history, so I was looking forward to this book, even though I don’t normally read historical novels. I thoroughly enjoyed The Heretic’s Daughter, as it’s a fast paced read with intriguing characters. First there is of course Isaac Alvarez, the main character. It starts with a couple of flashbacks, but soon, you’re rolling along with the story.
Michael Lynes, the author, has done a brilliant job in bringing history, crime and religion together in one very readable book. The Heretic’s Daughter isn’t just about Isaac, but a lot about his family. There is his daughter Isabel and son Gabriel, but also his friend’s orphaned children, the twins Juana and Martín. Isaac feels guilty, as he was unable to save his friend’s life, and Isaac’s wife died at the same time.
The Heretic’s Daughter explains the relationship between king and queen Ferdinand and Isabella as well as the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada. There is plenty of religious intrigue around the court, and tension between different religious groups in and around Seville.
Torquemada is determined to save souls at all cost, not worrying about loss of life, as it’s all-important to get a confession. The Grand Inquisitor has many enemies, so it’s no surprise when the king orders Isaac to uncover a murder plot against Torquemada, who was the cause of death of both Isaac’s wife and friend Juan. Will Isaac try to save this man’s life? When he’s been dreaming of a time where he can kill the Grand Inquisitor?
Michael Lynes has written around the tensions well, I enjoyed thinking along with Isaac. Isaac investigated a death before, and so this is the second case (as it’s the second book, but can definitely be read as a stand-alone. I do, however, want to read the first book now!). Michael doesn’t rush the story or the conclusions Isaac comes to. He paints Isaac’s hatred well, and Isaac’s character comes out through the story.
The Heretic’s Daughter is a lot about Isabel, the daughter. She has changed since her mother’s death, we find out, and become more mature, looking after the younger children, listening to her father. Her heart is full of one young man though, but as the story unfolds, the love line unfolds as well, but there are surprises and twists coming along as well…
I loved the young twins in The Heretic’s Daughter. Juana is a wonderful character, and I love how her brother Martín is portrayed. There are some wonderful moments of courage and integrity in the story, despite their ordeal. Isaac has help from his dear friend, the apothecary Abu Ali Sina, one of the last Moors in Seville. Abu helps with the investigation and has some great connections that help out. Michael has portrayed the Moors well, and their standing within society.
I knew nothing about 15th century southern Spain, but this was a great read. The time is well portrayed, and all the tensions made me feel nervous on Isaac’s behalf! The Heretic’s Daughter shows the history well, and does so without sounding like a history lesson. Not sure about the theology in the book, haha, but that has nothing to do with the writing, or the enjoyment of the reading, for that matter!
I felt for King Ferdinand, and wouldn’t mind finding out more about him. I’m glad there will be a book 3, as I need to know what happens to Isaac Alvarez, the crime investigator as he has become. The Heretic’s Daughter is full of suspense, but all through human relationships, making it a great pleasure to read.
I received a copy via Love Books Tours but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.