Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book Review: Escape

Book Review of ESCAPE
Charles Meyers

Charles Meyers is an Elizabethan Crypto-Jewish historian. His main character, Hector (Heitor) Nunes, is a real life historical character. Escape is yet an unknown novel, self-published by Mr. Meyers through Catawba Publishing. I have been fortunate to receive a copy and be among the first to read it. It is a thrilling read.

Escape takes place in Portugal during the Portuguese Inquisition the year is 1543. "Escape" is just that, an escape into another lifetime. Hector Nunes, (1520-1591), physician, merchant, and intelligence operative, was born in Evora, Portugal. His family and other Jews had been forcibly converted in 1497 by the order of King Manuel I. He received a B.A. from the University of Chimera in 1540 and a B.A. in Medicine on July 7, 1543 from the same university. The Portuguese Inquisition's zealous actions against New Christians caused him to flee the country in approximately

Nunes traveled to the Bristol home of his uncle, Dr. Henrique Nunes, and aunt, Beatriz Fernandes. Given the opportunity to live graciously in Lisbon, but still hiding his Jewish birth, he wants only to be his own man, spurns his Uncle's generosity, and leaves for London. At time you feel sorry for Heitor and at other times you want to shake him and scream. He is a spoiled brat, with an insatiable appetite, not only for food but for wealth, respect and power. The lack of medical certification from the Royal College of Physicians of London caused him to engage in commercial activities beginning in 1546.

The intrigues that follow make for a fast paced, heart beating reading experience. This book is destined to be a best seller. It is a non-stop page turner, filled with suspense, and pathos. The story draws the reader into the time and situations. This is not only a story; it is a piece of history that few Jews really know about, told in a way that brings it to life and conjures up images and feeling that have been attached to so many times when the Jews have been persecuted.

You must read this book, available in limited quantity. I am recommending it to every student, every avid reader, book clubs, Jewish scholars, etc. this book will be a most valuable addition to every library and I am proud to have it in ours. I am anxiously awaiting the publishing of the sequel "1545 vs.1554"

Judith Jagoda: School Librarian
David Posnack Hebrew Day School, Plantation, FL.

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