Saturday 6 February 2016

Rummel, Inquisitor's Niece

Yes, I’m reading the final proofs of my forthcoming novel, The Inquisitor’s Niece, the story of a taboo relationship between a Jew and a Christian, set in inquisitorial Spain. Here is a teaser:

Public executions always fetched a good crowd. People craned their heads to see the expression on the faces of the trio of heretics, an old Jew and two youths - his sons presumably - bareheaded and shirtless, their backs bloodied by the lash, their hands and feet shackled. They were transported in an open cart for all to see, to be vilified, cursed and spit on. The crowd was in a holiday spirit, merry and boisterous. Boys were hawking chestnuts, dried fruit and sugared almonds. A band of blind musicians was playing their guitars. A juggler performed tricks with coloured balls. Harlots were doing brisk business.
The crowd was jostling for the best spots from which to watch the spectacle. There was excitement in the air when the heretics were dragged to the pyre and tied to the stake.  A joyful shout went up when the executioner put a torch to the kindling, and for a moment the cheers and jeers drowned out the agonized shrieks of the men at the stake. The crowd watched them writhing as the smoke and the licking flames enveloped their bodies, and the fumes and the pain overcame first the old man and then his companions. Their bodies slackened, the roaring fire ate through the ropes that tied them to the stake, and they dropped to the ground. For a while an up-drift of air made it look as if they were waving their limbs in desperation, then the bodies turned into a darkly glowing heap, shapeless lumps seen through a curtain of fire.
The flames had hardly died down before souvenir-seekers started raking the hot ashes for keepsakes and carried off the bones to grind up and hawk as magic powder. Alonso watched them in cold horror. The spectacle made Alonso’s skin crawl. It was an evil omen. Was this the fate that awaited his father?

You can pre-order the book from the publisher at:!inquisitors-niece/co4k

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