: El quinto siervo (Spanish Edition) () by Kenneth Wishnia and a great selection of similar New, Used and Collectible Books. A brilliantly imagined, beautifully written combination of scrupulously researched historical novel and riveting suspense thriller, Kenneth Wishnia’s The F. In , as the Catholic and Protestants battle for control of the soul of Europe, Prague is a safe harbor in the religious storm. The city is a refuge for Jews, but.

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The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

Gobernada por el emperador Rodolfo II, la ciudad es un refugio para los judios que viven dentro de las paredes cerradas del barrio. Thanks for telling us about the problem. It was just kind of too long for me and the ending came slowly. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Dec 11, Debbi Mack rated it it was amazing Shelves: Filled with heavily detailed descriptions of life in the Jewish quarter, woven through with Talmudic arguments, Yiddish and Hebrew, Jewish law and custom, it is an education in itself.

Holy Week and Eastertide were especially risky, and a gambling man would say that we were long overdue for old-fashioned Jew-hatred.

The Fifth Servant

But although custom and law keep Christians and Jews separate, Wishnia’s inquisitive student rabbi finds a web of illicit trade that binds the two communities. It really interrupts the flow of the book to constantly be flipping around, especially since the glossary isn’t even completely at the back at the book but actually precedes a bonus chapter about what happened to one of the characters.

Here’s a book that combines some of my favorite things – history, detailed information about a relatively unfamiliar culture, a basis in folklore, and a mystery. However when it came to actual character development there were simply too many people in the story for all of them to feel dimensional and many came across as caricatures, for example the prostitute with the heart of gold or the friendly giant with mental disabilities. Instead of the murder and the subsequent investigation being the vehicle and driver of the story, it seemed to interrupt the narrative.

What a lovely book – not run of the mill, but combining the best of several genres into its own tale. Lists with This Book. Wishnia embeds descriptions of 16th-century medicine, divorce, counterfeiting and religious dissent into his tale.


The story was well paced and kept me interested throughout. In spiritual metaphor, an “unshaped” man is so far from reaching the full potential of his awareness, he’s something less than fully human. Many disturbing events are also detailed, one of which is the requirement that Jews wear yellow badges – this in the 16th century.

The language is relatively modern, but the author makes an argument about this by talking about old tales written in Yiddish that are colloquial and very modern in their sound.

Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. The author provides a dictionary at the end of the book for the Yiddish and German words he uses. They didn’t seem out of place after a while and I think without them, the story would have been lacking.

Set in late 16th century Prague during the inquisition when Catholics and Protestants are battling for control, the Jewish people in the ghetto are going about their lives, hoping attention is not turned on them.

The whole story spins into a maelstrom of riots, blood lot of blood! It’s obvious that the author did a lot of research for the book and that attention to detail made the streets breathe in a way I’ve not felt in a historical novel before.

It also leaves a sirrvo of loose ends hanging, although Wishnia tries to tie up the most obvious ones in the final pages. It’s also not Wishnia’s fault but when everyone goes sievro Rabbi or Reb I get easily confused trying to recall who has done what and sometimes the novel became too complicated for me.

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There’s nothing worse than reading historical fiction where the dialogue sounds like that one person from your high school drama class that has that phony snooty stage voice or that pretentious classical music announcer that thinks a fake British accent makes them smarter. It also creates a very believable atmosphere for the city, both in and out of the ghetto, when the Jewish are accused of killing a Christian girl.

The mystery itself, the search for what happened to the murdered girl, seemed almost secondary to the other events taking place in the book. Her throat has been cut, and blood is everywhere. The book, though fiction, is filled with so many factual events, people and places to qualify as a text book, albeit one that is a joy to read. It is not an easy read however as Wishnia not only splatters his prose with phrases from Hebrew, Yiddish, Czech and German but also includes some theological discussion that may be hard to follow for those unfamiliar with the Talmud or the competing medieval Christian theologies.


The fascinating parts of the book, to me, dealt with the relationships between Catholics and Protestants, Christians and Jews, Jews and Jews traditi I realized as I approached the end of this book–basically a murder mystery set in sixteenth century Prague–that I couldn’t really figure out “who dunnit? Where this book more than succeeded for me was in bringing the time period to life. Review Copy provided by publisher. At times, the Jewishness was a little much for a goy like myself–lots of references to the Talmud and the Mishnah as well as all sorts of references to Judaic scholars.

When the body of a young Christian girl is found on the floor of a Jewish businessman’s shop, however, all eyes focus on the Jewish community and what is perceived as their Jew-magic.

The characters are extremely well developed and the dialogue is very authentic. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? The protagonist, Benjamin Ben-Akiva, is a new Talmudic scholar who’s come to Prague under the weight of a few acceptance issues, by his own scholarly crowd as well as his wife, both of whom are more than a servo disappointed in him.

I read this as an e pub book. I think this was a good choice. Still, in spite of those weaknesses I found The Fifth Servant to be a fascinating and rewarding read. English Choose a language for shopping. Jan 15, Keith rated it liked it. He knows he cannot do it alone. Alegando la inocencia del tendero al sheriff de la ciudad, Benjamin se da tres dias para llevar al asesino ante la justicia verdadera. The city is a refuge for Jews, but their lives are jeopardized when a young Christian girl is found with her throat slashed in a Jewish shop.