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The Witch of Cologne

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A Time of Peril The Inquisitor, Carlos Vicente Solitario, charges a young Jewish midwife, Ruth bas Elazar Saul, with heresy. Ruth may be the daughter of the city's chief rabbi, but this is no protection against the Inquisition's accusations. A Quest for Justice. Detlef von Tennen, nobleman and canon, cousin to the Archbishop, suspects that something other than religion drives Solitario to persecute Ruth. Determined to ensure that justice is done, Detlef joins the investigation-and finds his passions fully aroused by Ruth's impressive intelligence and darkly exotic beauty. Two Hearts' Desires. All her life, Ruth bas Elazar Saul has thirsted for knowledge, despite the price she paid by concealing her gender and being cast out of her father's house. Her faith sustained her through all, even the attentions of the Inquisition. Then, in the very heart of danger, God blessed her with the greatest love she had ever known. From Publishers Weekly. In a sensuous 17th-century saga set in German Catholic Cologne, Learner (Quiver) transports readers to a time when studying the ancient Kabbalah could prove deadly for a young Jewish midwife. Ruth bas Elazar Saul is the headstrong daughter of the chief rabbi of Deutz, Cologne's Jewish ghetto. She undertakes the forbidden course of mystical study, her Sephardic mother's legacy, before absconding to Amsterdam to escape an arranged marriage. There, Ruth acquires the contemporary midwifery skills she will combine with her sacred learning, and upon her return to Cologne she delivers wealthy burghers' babies using new lifesaving methods, earning a reputation for more than medical genius. Word of her skills travels quickly, and as the Spanish Inquisition stretches its tentacles to the Rhineland, Ruth is arrested for sorcery by the sadistic archbishop Carlos Vicente Solitario, whose persecution of her is fueled by a stymied youthful obsession with her mother. Ruth's keen intelligence and bravery in prison win her an ally, Canon Detlef von Tennen, who falls passionately in love with the "Jewess." The two marry, and Learner has readers rooting for the survival of their unlikely alliance. This steamy, riveting page-turner is also a paean to the triumph of a woman's spirit. (Aug.) Copyright ® Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.