The conquest of the city by Spaniards brings together five families, whose stories are told as they struggle to survive in war-torn Cordoba, while three families flee the city forever.
The families are Muslim as well as Christian and Jews, whose ancestors had to convert to the Muslim faith or face exile. The hazardous journeys by the families that left the city and their uncertain futures are explored in this fascinating historical saga.
To understand the situation of Cordoba and the Iberian Peninsula in the thirteenth century, historians point to the 711 invasion by a Berber Umayyad dynasty from North Africa. They defeated the ruling Visigoths, putting the entire Iberian Peninsula in their hands, except for the far northern part. Under Muslim governance, this area was known as Al Andalus. The Umayyad stayed in power until 1031. Between then and the conquest of Cordoba by the Spaniards in 1236, various Muslim rulers ruled Al Andalus.
The golden age of Jews living in Muslim Spain is considered to have started at the beginning of the tenth century, but ended with the fall of the Umayyad caliphate. Cordoba had a population at that time of about 400,000, and was the largest city in all of Europe.
The Temple Wall: Against All Odds
The historical novel The Temple Wall: Against All Odds covers three generations of a Jewish family living in the Ruhr area of Germany during the first and second crusades. It was known at the time as a pilgrimage to conquer Jerusalem from the Muslim infidels during the 12th century and to recapture Edessa from the Muslims in the 13th century.
A son of both the first and third generation of a Jewish family joined each crusade despite the danger involved. Their aim was to reach the remains of the Holy Temple that once stood in Jerusalem. Pilgrims of the crusades suffered hardships and endured fierce battles on their long journey.
Both participants reached their goal. The son on the first crusade died on his return trip back home, while the second crusader made it back to Germany. The man accompanying the son on the first crusade came back and married the widow of that son.
New Horizons is based on the true story of a Jewish family escaping pogroms in the Ukraine, where they lived, and the general slaughter and hunger in Russia during the Revolution of 1917 and the following civil war that lasted through 1920. For safety, the family moved to Harbin in Manchuria with many other Russians.At the end of the 19th century, Harbin was a small Chinese fishing village. It grew rapidly to 375,000 residents in 1930, with nearly 300,000 of them Chinese. The Jewish population peaked at 20,000 in the 1920s. Japan then invaded Manchuria, capturing Harbin in 1932, and making life harder for the Jewish community.Jews in Harbin ran a self-administrative community with their own bank, hospital, schools, library, and cemetery.Part of the family left for the U.S in the late 1920s. The parents left for Palestine in 1930, with the rest following in 1934. The book describes the historical events during this tumultuous period.Major people and events in New Horizonsare real. Some details are told as oral history by the people who lived then, while other information was passed down through the generations.This is Dr. Alex Bloch’s eighth book. He was born in Germany and came to Palestine as a child. From there he went to the U.S., where he earned a BS from M.I.T. and an MS from Columbia. He eventually moved to Israel and received his Ph.D. in history from Tel-Aviv University, where he also taught. The author has written mainly historical novels after retirement.Publisher’s website:http://sbpra.com/AlexBloch
The Journey to Forgiveness
The Journey to Forgiveness delves into family relationships after a death in the family. It is written through the eyes of the younger brother, a middle-aged man who finally confronts the difficult relationships he’s had throughout his life with his newly deceased brother and their mother.
He is a successful writer and restaurant reviewer working for a travel book publisher. As he visits the world over for his work, armchair travelers can join him.
The man wants to resolve the problems within his family, because they are now impacting his troubled relationship with his girlfriend. When his girlfriend’s son is involved in a criminal act, the ensuing crisis, plus his relationship with his family members bring about a deeper understanding of himself, and he is finally able to consider a committed relationship.
It’s all brought about by The Journey to Forgiveness.
About the Author
Born in Germany, Alex Bloch lived many years in the U.S., where he received a BS from MIT and an MS from Columbia. His Ph.D. is in history from Tel-Aviv University. Now retired, the author settled in Israel some years ago. This is his ninth novel.