Cover image for 1492
Title:
1492
Author:
Frohlich, Newton, 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1990.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780312050412
Format :
Book

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1492 Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, fell to the Christian reconquest. To further homogenize a Christian Spain, the remnants of her once flourishing Jewish community were driven into exile. Finally in that year, an obscure Genoese sea captain embarked from Palos, hoping to reach the Spice Islands by sailing west. In his first novel, Frohlich attempts to bring Columbus and his era to life. He shows a fine gift for storytelling, and his recounting of the horrors of the Inquisition are striking. Columbus himself emerges as a man of great talent with an almost mystical self-confidence. Unfortunately, Frohlich's effort to flesh out historical figures occasionally reduces them to the level of soap opera caricatures. While his attention to detail is impressive, he also engages in some rather wild speculation (e.g., he implies that many converted Christians were not only secret Jews but secret proto Zionists). Still, the sheer power of the historical events is likely to keep the reader engaged. This is generally a competent, enjoyable first effort. ~--Jay Freeman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Who was the real Christopher Columbus? In Frohlich's captivating, extraordinarily vivid first novel, the white-haired widower and sea captain who alternately called himself Colombo, Colomo and Colon (never Columbus) was a Marrano, or converted Jew, an idealist who believed it his destiny to be ``a light to the Gentiles.'' Frohlich, an attorney, spent eight years researching his book and brings remarkable realism to his chilling depiction of the fanaticism fueling the Inquisition. Queen Isabel is a merciless, sadistic, money-mad anti-Semite, and King Fernando henpecked. Among the other compelling characterizations are Beatriz, Columbus's outspoken Jewish mistress, cousin of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada; and Boabdil, a weakling who deposes his own father to become sultan of Granada. Except for some patches of self-conscious dialogue, this is a convincing, detailed re-creation of the Old World on the brink of discovery. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

As much a story of the Spanish Inquisition as of Columbus's famous voyage, Frohlich's first novel ends with the three ships sailing from Spain. In this telling, the explorer uses various versions of his name and is vague about his origins in order to disguise his status as one of the new Christians (nominal Jewish converts) singled out by the Inquisition in part so that their assets may be acquired for the government. Spanning more than 15 years, the novel moves from warring Arabs to Queen Isabella to highly placed new Christians, but none of the characters is well developed. Neither is the storyline: the fragmented narrative, divided into short scenes only minimally connected to each other, makes it difficult to sustain interest. The author's thorough research is evident, but as a novel, 1492 is only average. Acquire where appropriate.-- Ellen Kaye Stoppel, Drake Univ. Law Lib., Des Moines (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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