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La mano de Fátima La apasionante historia de un joven atrapado entre dos religiones y dos as en busca de su libertad y la de su puebloEspaña segunda mitad del siglo XVI hace más de medio siglo ue ha desaparecido el último reino musulmán de la península el de Granada Los musulmanes cuya presencia tenía ochocientos años de antigüedad se ven convertidos en una minoría oprimida económicamente y humillada en sus costumbres y religión ue incluso son obligados a abandonarHartos de tanta injusticia los moriscos ue es como se llamaba a los musulmanes españoles se alzan en los montes de Granada contra los cristianos y emprenden una lucha desigual Entre los sublevados está Hernando hijo de una morisca y del sacerdote ue la había violado; ello hace ue sea rechazado tanto por los suyos debido a su origen como por los cristianos por la cultura y costumbres de su madre Hernando busca libertad y respeto pero se encuentra con la brutalidad de unos y otros También descubre el amor en la persona de la valerosa Fátima la de los hermosos ojos negrosTras la derrota de la insurrección Hernando es deportado a la ciudad de Córdoba la hermosa ciudad ue aún conserva el legado de su pasado árabe En ella Hernando intenta comenzar una nueva vida ue será una nueva etapa en la lucha por la tolerancia y la concordia entre las dos culturasEl autor de La catedral del mar vuelve con una trepidante novela con las mismas claves ue llevaron al éxito a la primera fidelidad histórica entrecruzada con un conmovedor relato de amor y odio de ilusiones perdidas y esperanzas ue dan sentido a la vida y la lanzan por los caminos de la aventuraless That book astounded me I was bored reading it at first with its 900 pages but as the events kept on escalating I just fell in love with it It introduced me to a part of the Islamic history that I know a little off A piece of that part was dull and discomforting knowing about the atrocities committed by Muslims in such a period But again I felt even discomforted about how violently the Muslims of that period The Moors were treated murdered or even expelled out of their own lands pennilessIt somehow reminded me of how the Jews were expelled from Europe centuries afterwards The book took me through a trip around the streets of Cordoba and Granada through streets and places that I have once visited myself I felt I was reliving the visit of such sites through the words of the writer and I marveled at their beauty once again The last few chapters were attention grabbing; I kept reading anxious to know what will happen next and how it will all end I simply loved the book the plot twist the history of it all the beautiful places in Andalusia that the book takes you through A final note as a Muslim who read the book I felt disturbed reading about the violence and killings made by the Moors This is not of Islam at all And yet again such acts or even were committed by the Christians against the Moors I believe every part got a little carried away with its own mundane thoughts and ideas We need to remember that both religions come subseuent to two Holly books they both share the same basic principles of good will they only differ in how faith is interpreted May be that should have allowed peaceful coexistence as it was during the prosperous ruling of Islam in the glorious days of Andalusia Such coexistence was made vivid to me while visiting the MosueCathedral of Cordoba That’s the most beautiful religious site I have even seen the mix and blind of the two religions in the very same places is completely beautiful May be such coexistence can be learned from visiting such a place although it was turned into its current form years after the Moors were defeated That's a book worthy of being read ABsolutely fantastic Historical Fiction great characters rich and credible The story behind Muslim persecution in Spain in the 1500's and 1600's A must read in this time of Muslim unrest Wow It was almost a pain to read this book I wonder if the author couldn't have written it in half the pages the message would be there and we would still understand how rough it was for those people in those timesI'm only giving it 3 stars because I found this book a little too tiresome than expected Interesting yes but when I reached the 600th page I was so tired of the book that I seriously though of putting it aside Honestly I just read it because I had started it; I might as well finish itSo really not my cup of tea And I really recommend it to people who are really but really into extensive and really descriptive historical novels Because once again the book describes too well a period of History that perhaps some people may not know about So you really need to be into this And also be patient You've got nine hundred and something pages to read until the end of it I was back back in a tale that was going to engross me and take me over where I would feel every twist and turn in the fate of the protagonist The young bastard of a muslim girl who was was raped by a Catholic Priest is that protagonist Shunned by both of the warring religions in Catholic Spain Hernando is loved by his mother Aisha but despised by his step father Brahim He learns the catechism and prayers from the church Sacristan while at the same time the Koran from the Scholar Hamid whose name he later takes upHernando’s family are caught up in the revolt by the Morisco’s against their Catholic oppressors and during this he inadvertently rescues Fatima who he falls body and soul for Unfortunately his step father also takes a liking to the young Fatima and in the first uarter of the book she passes from one to the other like a prize muleWhen the revolt is finally crushed Hernando and his family are amongst the thousands dispersed throughout Spain Working his way up from shovelling manure at a Tannery to working in the Royal Stables he marries Fatima after Brahim is pushed out of the picture and there is a brief period of peace in Hernando’s life But Brahim returns to wreak revenge at the end of part two and Hernando’s life changes once again and he focus’s even intently on his plan to try to unite the two warring religionsWhen I say epic I don’t just mean the arc of the story the book is over 900 pages long After a while despite the sheer horror of what happened at the time you almost run out of raw emotion to feel it although there are a few times when my head was screaming for something to happen differently someone to arrive earlier for a meeting to end differently I had to ignore the pile of unread books on my book shelf which seemed to look at me accusingly every time I passed them by they have been moved down out of eye level since The other thing was that I didn't think this was as good as Cathedral of the Sea Falcone’s first novel set in Barcelona which lovedStill it consumed me during the bad parts I hated the book and the emotions it made me feel but carried on turning the pages until I knew Hernando’s fortunes had turned and during the brief respites of happiness I turned the pages and enjoyed the prose that opened a window to this period and placeIf you have an interest in the history of Spain Christianity or Islam or just want an epic tale that will wrench your emotions through life in 16th Century Spain then yoiu could do worse than thisblog review here I actually hadn't reached the 400 pages when I gave up It's not that I hated it it's just that it was sooooo boring and soooo long It made me give up reading a book which I hadn't done for I guess than a decade I have so many nice books in my To Read shelf I couldn't bear to continue putting them off in exchange for this While I appreciate all the research that went into this book and I actually managed to learn something about the lives of Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula before they were either assimilated or kicked out the characters felt terribly basic The bad guys are really just bad the good guys are perfect and never make mistakes the author writes about each nuance of their feelings leaving nothing for the reader to figure out The main character is like a martyr and everything happens to him it's just too much I felt I was being force fed what to think I believe the book is very accurate historically with all the details about the culture and lifestyle of those times but I had no interest in knowing what was going to happen I'm sorry but I give up Maybe later in my life I'll try getting back to this For now let's move on I am speechless Utterly and absolutely at loss for words I feel like this book was a missing piece in my life Might sound a bit overrated but let me explain The historical accuracy and intricacy that Falcones uses while writing this book is astounding I couldn't help but keep interrupting my reading to look deeply into the events and laws and figures and architecture he presented interwoven into the story The story encouraged me to embark on a journey to reach a deep understanding of the history of the Iberian peninsula As a Finnish person our history lessons only touch the surface of Spanish history if we don't take the exploration of the New World into account and that surface is not enough So few know about the 800 year long rule of Muslims in Spain and even less realize how much it has affected the modern Spanish culture The story itself and the lives of the characters aligned themselves with the events beginning from the Morisco rebellion or war of Alpujarra in 1570s all the way to their mass expulsion in 1610 Without spoiling the story for you upon finishing the book I was left with these heart wrenching uestions to wonder For how long will we continue to watch and allow xenophobia big and small scale to destroy us our lands cultures and families? How long will it take for us to understand that history will and does repeat itself if we keep sticking to our pride and ignorance? What happened in Spain was and is not new to the world not to the east nor west But a division that strong that destructive is worth studying and pondering over so as to never ever repeat it Hernando Fatima Hamid Rafaela and many others broke my heart but will never also leave it They taught me the importance of clinging to your true self beliefs and identity in the face of the harshest persecution possible PS for those who complain of the length of the book about 1000 pages as being unnecessary I disagee How can you fit over 40 years of history including the explanation of the context into any less than that without being shallow and not true to the real events? A definite 5 stars from me It has to be one of the most thoroughly researched and detailed account of the Moriscos new Christians or Muslim converts set in 16th century Spain I was taken into a world where a defeated Muslim community is forced to chose between survival and their old faith The main character is a bastard son of a Catholic priest and a Muslim girl who struggle through a civil war and makes it to the higher echelons of Spanish society only to be unceremoniously chucked out because of his uncertain credentials by a Royal decree I lived the various dialogues between the very faithful Christians and Muslims in the story I thought that the era was very nicely captured by the author though at times the flow is slightly repetitive It was news for me that the initial Muslim conuest was not really seen as a Muslim victory per se by the vanuished as they thought the Muslims to be another version of the the various Christian sects residing across the pond for about 30 years I really enjoyed the focus on the ordinary and the downtrodden in the story This particular method of encapsulating factual history in a story is the best way of enjoying mundane history in my opinionI loved the way the whole story climaxes as well only 960 pages later A very long and sad novel but with freuent changes of alternating fortune It follows very closely the historical facts of the tragedy of the Moriscos between 1568 and 1612 including the odd forgeries of the Sacromonte affair an attempt mostly carried out by Moriscos in late 16th century Granada to combine or establish a sort of syncretism between Christianism and IslamThe nearly 1000 pages might feel a bit too long on occasion I even stopped reading for a couple weeks but I was able to retake and on the whole I liked it Enjoyable long read even if sometimes I felt the events were a bit too crow bar just as a way of advancing the plot and giving Hernando and his family yet suffering The translation into English is very well done sometimes translated books feel clunky but the translation here is smooth and easy The story bounces along and it's the kind of book you can put down for a week or so and go back to without losing any of the plot It's not very demanding but it holds the interest As other readers said occasionally it suffers from its length and there are some unnecessary repetitions about events and characters but overall it's a solid read about a fascinating culture in troubled times

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