Read Recently — March 2007 — I Certainly Didn’t Expect Them

The End of Days: A story of tolerance, tyranny and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by Erna Paris

A book of history and analysis, Paris’ book is a hard one for me to encompass. It basically runs from the fall of the Roman Empire to the expulsion of the Jews from what was finally Spain as we know it in 1492. There is also some comparison of Europe then and now, and some pointers from the antisemitism of the Spanish Inquisition to the antisemitism of the Nazis. It’s not a direct link, but Paris makes a good case for it being there.

I was actually surprised by the Spanish Inquisition, to be honest. Of course, outside of Monty Python I knew little about them. I didn’t know, for example, that they were basically a separate force from the European Inquisition, nor that the “heretics” they were searching for were mostly converted Jews. Nor that a major purpose of the Spanish Inquisition was to put money from captured Heretics into the treasury of the Royals, who needed it to fund the “Holy Reconquest”. Not the only purpose; their Majesties were genuinely pious, but still, it was there. I was also surprised that those monarchs were Ferdinand and Isabella, of Columbus-funding fame.

If you’re Jewish, this book could make you angry (it probably should make anyone angry, but I’m not betting on some people). It’s full of people doing evil in the name of the highest good they can imagine. It should also be required reading for anyone who claims (as I have seen done) that our current, ‘tolerant’ (FSVO tolerant), multicultural societies are the result of our ‘Christian Founders’.

Recommended.

Moonshine by Rob Thurman

Sequel to Nightlife , which means any comments on this one will of necessity contain some spoilers for that one. If you are planning to read the first book, and you want questions like, “does character X survive?” to be surprises, you should probably skip reading this entry until after you’ve read the other book.

So: having dealt with their problems in Nightlife, Caliban Leandros and his brother Nikos are settling down in New York, using their particular expertise for violence to work, in the form of a bodyguarding/investigative agency for supernatural types. So basically, it’s the two brothers, the vampire who loves Niko, the Puck who also loves Niko, and the prophet, George, who loves Cal (no, it’s short for Georgina). And, together, they fight crime! What more could you ask for?

How about the Werewolf Mafia?

Our heroes start out doing a job for the Kin, who are not just werewolves but are certainly led by werewolves, a “check out the subordinate” job for a boss named “Cerberus”. Then they find out that they’re being used, not by Cerberus, but by someone who wants them to steal something from Cerberus. This is much riskier than working for Cerberus, but not much. And to ensure cooperation, the manipulator kidnaps George.

The issue is complicated by hints that their triumph in the last book may not have been as complete as they hoped.

I have to admit that this one kind of got to me. I mean, I didn’t doubt that our heroes would win, but I found myself wondering at what cost?

Recommended.

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