Title: Prisoner of the InquisitionAuthor: Theresa BreslinPublisher: Corgi ChildrensPublication Date: 31 March 2011Source: Review CopySynopsis from GoodreadsZarita is used to basking in the pampered lifestyle being the only daughter of the town magistrate affords; she is free to roam the town as she likes, consort with the son of a nobleman and spend her days studying the arts. Saulo's family have fallen on hard times, and when his father is hanged for an assault on Zarita he did not commit and Saulo is hauled off to be a slave at sea, Saulo swears revenge. But when Zarita's mother dies in childbirth, and the formidable and frightening Inquisition arrives in the area, a curtain of suspicion and brutality comes down on her old life for good. Saulo may believe that Zarita is his sworn enemy, but in a time when the whole of Spain is in turmoil, are him and Zarita each other's only hope of survival?
GUEST REVIEW BY BETH OF THE PIECES OF ME
This novel took some time for me to get into but once I did, it was worth every minute. The characters felt real and believable. They were so beautifully written that even characters who initially seemed detestable (Zarita) turned out differently.
It’s not the kind of book or period I’d usually choose to read about so it was really interesting to be transported to a land and a time I knew nothing about. Its story switches between the narrative perspectives of Zarita and Saulo which I really enjoyed as it was possible to see how the one event in their past shapes all their actions in the future.
I much preferred Zarita’s side of the story to Saulo’s, mainly because I’m not really interested in swash-buckling sea-faring stuff whereas Zarita’s narrative was much more interesting, probably because it took more time for her character to bloom and develop. The characters were written really well and were easy to engage with, which made it even more enjoyable to read.
From a historical point of view some of the events covered are horrifying, with the burning of those convicted of heresy and the reliance on tittle-tattle and rumour to convict these people. The ending of the novel is extremely climactic and as the pace increases I didn’t even guess what was going to happen until it happened, which is clearly the mark of a good storyteller.
Having never read anything else from the period I found this novel really enlightening and enjoyable and I’d definitely give other works by this author a go, especially if they were similar in style.