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Religious wars, violence and refugees in the Middle Ages

The Convert

Stefan Hertmans

In a small village in Provence there has been talk since time immemorial about a pogrom and a hidden treasure trove. In the late nineteenth century, in a synagogue in Cairo, a number of revelatory Jewish documents were found. Stefan Hertmans came upon the trail of an eminent Christian damsel of the eleventh century who threw everything away for the love of a young Jewish man. The young woman and her forbidden love flee together and travel more than a thousand kilometres, on a journey full of hardships, pursued by knights sent by her father. It is the start of a thrilling and sensuous tale about pogroms and crusaders, and the death and destruction left in their wake.

An intense contest of contrasts between a writer's dogged search and the desolate time he evokes

Stefan Hertmans based the story of ‘The Convert’ on historical facts, and he brings the Middle Ages to life with immense imagination and stylistic ingenuity. This is the story of three religions and a world going through massive change, a story of hope, love and hatred, a novel about a woman who can be certain of one thing: at home the death penalty awaits.

A crucial book that will stir hearts and minds ****
De Standaard
Extraordinarly good
The Sunday Times