Book Review: - By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

By Fire, By WaterMy review:  By Fire, By Water by Mitchell Kaplan is a beautifully crafted novel that brings together four seemingly separate historically significant phenomena and weaves them together to form a believable chain of events that lead to the voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1492 under the Spanish Flag...

This book has it all - suspense, intrigue, religion, romance and history.  It starts out introducing you to the major characters and can leave you scratching your head and a little bewildered about how a disparate group of individuals play into the drama that is going to unfold... but if you can persevere and get past the initial onslaught of characters and facts, you will be drawn into a world that spans Christianity, Judaism, Islam and travels through Spain, Northern Africa and beyond...

I have to say that I was somewhat skeptical at first, given the huge amount of character and historical information thrown at the reader in the beginning, but by the time I came to know the characters and make the connections, all of the background info made sense and helped me to focus on the relationships, drama and events that moved the story to its inevitable and sometimes bittersweet conclusion.  Kaplan brings together a host of history in this novel, including the New Inquisition, the Spanish re-conquest of Granada, the expulsion of Jews from Spain and the initial voyage of Christopher Columbus.

As a history buff and someone who loves to read about the dramatic history of Europe, I highly recommend By Fire, By Water as a must read!

About the Author:
Mitchell James Kaplan has lived and worked primarily in Paris and Los Angeles as a translator, screenwriter and script consultant.  Currently he resides in Mt. Lebanon, PA with his wife and two children.  By Fire, By Water is his first novel.  To read more about him, check out his webpage at

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of By Fire, By Water by the author for the purpose of this review.  All opinions are my own.