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The Hand of Fatima [Paperback]

Ildefonso Falcones
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

29 Sep 2011

Snared between two cultures and two loves, one man is forced to choose...

1564, the Kingdom of Granada. After years of Christian oppression, the Moors take arms and daub the white houses of Sierra Nevada with the blood of their victims.

Amidst the conflict is young Hernando, the son of an Arab woman and the Christian priest who raped her. He is despised and regularly beaten by his own step-father for his 'tainted' heritage.

Fuelled with the love of the beautiful Fatima, Hernando hatches a plan to unite the two warring faiths - and the two halves of his identity...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (29 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552776467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552776462
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The new historical blockbuster from the internationally bestselling author of The Cathedral Of The Sea.

From the Inside Flap

Snared between two cultures and two loves, one man is forced to choose...

1564, the Kingdom of Granada. After years of Christian oppression, the Moors take arms against their masters and daub the white houses of Sierra Nevada with the blood of their victims.

Caught in the conflict is young Hernando, the son of an Arab woman who was raped by a Christian priest. Despised by the townsfolk and by his own stepfather for his 'tainted' heritage, he is banished to live in the stables and becomes an expert muleteer.

When Hernando meets Fatima, a beautiful girl with black eyes, she becomes the love of his life. But his stepfather accuses Hernando of Christian sympathies and condemns him to slavery. Then news reaches Hernando that Fatima has been murdered. In despair, he embarks on a plan to unite the two warring faiths - and the two halves of his identity...

A breath-taking epic of good and evil, of love and hate, of dreams dashed and hopes regained, Ildefonso Falcones' story of the Arab-Christian conflict brims with historical detail and unforgettable characters and reflects the author's celebrated passion for rich historical detail and his flair for story-telling.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I bought 'The Hand of Fatima' (a symbol banned by the Christians during the period) as soon it was published due to the fact that I had been extremely impressed with 'The Cathedral of the Sea' and didn't want to wait for the paperback. It was worth every penny. This time Falcones turns his attention to the history of the Moors in Spain, their enforced conversation to Christianity, rebellion and ultimate expulsion from the country. The actions of the warring factions are brutal, bloody and disturbing and in sharp contrast to the beauty of the country and the culture.

The central character is Hernando, his Muslim mother is raped by a Christian priest and his blue eyes mark him out to be reviled by the Morisco community and by his stepfather in particular. Throughout the novel he moves between both religions and yet belongs to neither. He falls in love with Fatima, a young girl who his stepfather wants for his second wife, will they ever be together? Hernando's story is an adventure, he is imprisoned, enslaved and he escapes. He makes friends and enemies on both sides of the divide. He tries to do what is right but his actions are misunderstood, he can't tell people what he is really doing for fear of putting more lives at risk. For both sides it was a case of convert or be slaughtered. On the front of the novel are the words 'Moors and Christians have been enemies for centuries - can one man bring their conflict to an end?' Unfortunately we already know the answer to that question, but documents exist that indicate that a group of Muslims were trying to find a way to reconcile the two religions back in the 16th century. Why can't the two sides concentrate on the similarities rather than the differences?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very long, but pretty Moorish 15 July 2011
By Martin
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As the opening chapters in this long narrative are set in the Alpujarran village of Juviles, where I sometimes live, I've been looking forward to reading the English translation. I'd got about a third of the way through in Spanish, but even if you have a reasonable command of the language, its near 1000 pages are hard work, packed as they are with obscure words for obsolete concepts. It's a long book for people who want their money's worth from a long book, with a lack of serious literary merit balanced by a wealth of fascinating detail and a rollicking, relentless pace. Concerning the tumultuous history following the Christian Reconquista of Spain and the forced conversion and integration,persecution and partial exodus of the last remaining muslims, it's a convincing evocation of a fascinating place and time, with resonance for the modern relationship between the islamic world and the West. Rather than serious history, though, it's unashamed historical romance, with a focus on individual characters and a love story at its centre. It gets pretty drippy and indulgent, but I don't think its target readership will worry about that - in fact, that could be the key to its appeal for the middle-aged Spanish ladies who've already started to turn up in our village, clutching paperbacks of 'La Mano' as they peer into the 16th-century village church. Fun, full of colour and very, very long, with a convincingly natural style in translation, it's really an airport novel with a great historical backdrop. As long as you don't expect more, you'll love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a novel bigger than life 2 Oct 2011
By gift
I bought this book during holidays and its only drawback being that it was so interesting and captivating I almost missed my holiday reading it.

The action is set around the years 1520-1600, in Spain, and builds on the conflict between Muslim moriscos and catholic Spanish: inquisition, forced change to christianity, persecutions, but at the same time the nonsense of the religious fighting - believers in the same God, in humility and humanity, hate eachother to death. There are interesting historical facts about the the behavior and rituals of both religions at that time, all integrated very well in a touching story.

I would recommend the book for anybody who is after action, history, love, but above all a novel full of teachings which puts in perspective our religious beliefs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Especially interesting to readers who know the Granada region and who are interested in the history of the expulsion of the moriscos. It could have benefitted from having some of the plot details more streamlined as it seems a bit cluttered in parts. Rather predictable plot with too many two dimensional characters, but the author does humanise the suffering experienced during this harsh and bloodthirsty period of Spanish history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant 4 Jan 2014
By Blue007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's probably one of the few (if not the only) books that left such a long and lingering impression on me. It lives with me to this day despite that it's been at least a year since I've read it. I've read a number of other books on the life and fall of the Ottoman Empire, but that was the first book that I picked up about the Inquisition period in Spain, which came on the heel of that fall. There is a lot of violence and gore in it, yet it is hard to put down.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting but 200 pages too Long 7 Nov 2011
By JohnA
Format:Kindle Edition
A very well written book, dealing with episode of history I only had a vague knowledge of. I found the short "historical essays" designed to keep the reader informed of the larger picture very useful. My only problem with the book was it seemed to drag things out a bit. I believe a bit of judicious editing could have cut 200 pages from the book without a noicable loss. A good read none the less, and one which informs aswell as entertains.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Excellent book - Principally a gripping 'faction' story. Combines history, obvious love of Andalucia and desire to get across an alternative view of the troubled times after the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Campbell Ferguson
4.0 out of 5 stars Is there hope for Humanity
A book one is ready to put down but continues just the same and finding that the whole paints a vivid picture of the battle between the ignorant and the humble, the arrogant and... Read more
Published 5 months ago by John K. Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful book
I think that this is the most beautiful book of the three books written by Falcones. Brilliant written, fantastic story.
Published 8 months ago by Carmen
5.0 out of 5 stars What a story
Fascinating to read this novel after a summer where we went to visit so many of the places in the story. I wish that I had read it before we went to Andalusia. Read more
Published 12 months ago by pim
4.0 out of 5 stars A rollercoaster ride with good morals
Exciting interesting story would have been 4 star but not quite as good as cathedral of the sea. Good moral tale on how religious intolerance ruins lives.
Published 13 months ago by Puyol05
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I really enjoyed reading this especially the setting of Moorish Spain and the struggle between Muslims and Christains personified in the characters.
Published 14 months ago by Sughra Choudhry Khan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
One of the best books I have read in a very long time. It tells a beautiful, if at times barbaric, story. Beautifully translated
Published 19 months ago by B Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous read
I enjoyed this book very much, It is not my usual genre but i was captured by the characters and events.
well written and the author made Andalusia come alive
Published 22 months ago by Tanya
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful insight into the Spanish Inquisition.
A lengthy and well written novel that at no point fails to hold your attention. It particularly brings home the brutality of religious ambition and gives a chilling backcloth in... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars Good try
It is a story of 500 years ago in a remote part of Spain and the translation of specific words should have been very difficult. Read more
Published on 2 Oct 2012 by Julio
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