The Fifth Servant: A Novel

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9780061725388: The Fifth Servant: A Novel

“Whatever you are currently reading, I promise you it is not nearly as intelligent, witty, compelling, or entertaining as The Fifth Servant….Wishnia makes history come alive.”
 — David Liss, author of The Devil's Company

 

A brilliantly imagined, beautifully written combination of scrupulously researched historical novel and riveting suspense thriller, Kenneth Wishnia’s The Fifth Servant carries readers back to 16th century Prague in the shadow of the Papal Inquisition—and introduces a uniquely unforgettable protagonist, a young Talmudic scholar who has three days to solve a heinous murder before official reprisals decimate the city’s Jewish community. A richly atmospheric tale of religion, mystery, and intrigue, The Fifth Servant recreates life in the era when Emperor Rudolph II occupied the throne—a time of uncertainty and fear viewed through the eyes of an intrepid rabbinical student on a quest for truth and justice.

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From the Back Cover:

In 1592, Prague is a relatively safe refuge for Jews who live within the gated walls of its ghetto. But the peace is threatened when a young Christian girl is found with her throat slashed in a Jewish shop on the eve of Passover. Charged with blood libel, the shopkeeper and his family are arrested, and all that stands in the way of a rabid Christian mob is a clever Talmudic scholar, newly arrived from Poland, named Benyamin Ben-Akiva. Granted just three days to bring the true killer to justice—hampered by rabbinic law, with no allies or connections, and only his wits, knowledge, and faith to guide him—Benyamin sets off on a desperate search for answers. Following a twisting trail from the streets to the shul, from the forbidden back rooms of a ghetto brothel to the emperor Rudolf II's lavish palace, he will dare the impossible—and commit the unthinkable—to save the Jews of Prague . . . and himself.

About the Author:

Kenneth Wishnia is the author of The Fifth Servant, and his crime fiction has been nominated for the Edgar and Anthony awards. He has a PhD in comparative literature and teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Suffolk Community College on Long Island, where he lives with his wife and children.

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