Guardian of the Dawn (The Sephardic Cycle) by Richard Zimler – Review

Guardian of the Dawn is by one of my favourite authors, Richard Zimler. It’s the third book in the Sephardic Cycle however you don’t need to read the first and the second, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and Hunting Midnight, respectively, in order to understand neither the characters nor the story itself. I consider that the main purpose of this book is to bring light to the terror brought by the Portuguese Inquisition to Goa.

This book tells us the story of a boy named Tiago Zarco, his sister Sofia, his father and their housemaid Nupi, as they live in Goa during the end of the 16th century. They maintain their lives as Jewish people among local Hindus at a time when in Goa the rulers where Portuguese Catholics.

I loved this book! I found it way easier to read than The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon as well as better written. The author managed to keep me intrigued throughout the entire book, giving me the answers I needed exactly when they were crucial to his story. The characters are well-achieved however he doesn’t develop their personalities enough for us to really figure out who are the villains and who are the “good guys” until he absolutely wants us to. Books that make me cry have a special place in my heart and this is one of them. It’s not a happy story but it’s a very good one.

I guarantee you this book is one of the best historical novels out there, much like most of Zimler’s work. Guardian of the Dawn has a ton of strengths to it, more than any negative aspect I could ever find. It fulfils its purpose of exposing this part of history, that some of us occasionally would like to forget.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

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