Years of trusted service as an understudy to Abu Yusuf Hasdai ben Ishaq ibn Shaprut, a strategic figure in the caliph of Cordoba’s court, has elevated Yusuf ben Ezia to the level of a close friend and ally in his mentor’s eyes. Hasdai’s reputation as a physician with exceptional abilities has spread far and wide so he is in high demand wherever he goes. Their Jewish origin weighs heavily on them as their countrymen suffer persecution wherever they are located. It is Hasdai’s wish to find a place where all Jews can live safely so when he hears rumors about a strange kingdom across the seas governed by Jews, he recruits Yusuf for a delicate task. Yusuf must brave a perilous trip across the continent to investigate if there is any truth to the stories. Will he succeed? Find out in Safe Haven by David R. Gross.
Safe Haven expertly combines elements of history with fiction to create an exciting story about one of the lesser-known travails of the Jews in Europe. Yusuf’s adventures while on his quest are unique, incorporating combat scenes that are quite detailed in their depiction. Yusuf’s political nous is impressive, and how he resolves the problem facing the Jews in Panormus shows diplomacy at its finest. The addition of a list of characters makes it easier to follow those who catch your interest as there are quite a number of them with varying agendas on display. This is a novel of the highest quality, with a storyline that will keep the reader spellbound to the end. An impressive piece of work by David R. Gross.