The Quality of Mercy Paperback
1593: Elizabethan London seethes with political and religious intrigue, while across the sea thousands perish in the flames of the Spanish Inquisition.
On the surface Roderigo, the Queen's physician, is a loyal subject of the Crown but secretly he and his family are Jewish conversos, hiding their illegal religion.
Rebecca, Roderigo's daughter, is torn between her duty - which includes a loveless marriage to a converso - and her fascination with the heady world of Elizabethan London.
Slipping out of her household one night, disguised as a man, Rebecca stumbles into a swordfight with someone equally romantic and heedless: Will Shakespeare, an ambitious young dramatist who, like Rebecca, has secrets to conceal and mysteries to unravel.
Together, they embark on an adventure that plunges them into the sinks and stews of Elizabethan England - and into the course of history itself...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 608 pages, map
- Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
- Publication Date: 13/11/1997
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780747257622
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Review by dulcibelle
This is not your standard Faye Kellerman mystery. This is set in Elizabethan England and is more historical romance than mystery. But that's OK. Kellerman handles the story well.Kellerman starts with the fact that Elizabeth I had a "converso" doctor - Rodrigo Lopez, a Jew who converted to Church of England while still practicing the religion of his ancestors in secret. Much of the book details the lives of conversos and the danger they faced daily. Lopez's daughter Rebecca chafes under the restrictions, both of her religion and her sex. She sometimes dresses as a man and wanders London looking for adventure. On one of her forays, she meets - and duels with - William Shakespeare (yes, THAT Shakespeare). She and Will become friends and lovers.The mystery comes in when Shakespeare's mentor is killed by what appears to be a highwayman. The murdered man's widow asks Shakespeare to find the killer. The mystery in this book truly is not the focus. Most of the story deals with Rebecca and Will and the fate of the conversos - specifically Lopez - in London. It is, however, an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Elizabethan England.