«Sánchez Adalid is one of our most important writers of quality historical novels», Qué Leer magazine.
This colossal, epic novel depicts the interweaving lives of unforgettable characters such as Mohammed, Marwán's son, who shares his love between Judit La Guapísima, and Adine, Judit's cousin; Duke Claudio, the Christians' highest representative, and Emir Abderramán II, a cultured and refined but cruel and vindictive monarch.
All of Sánchez Adalid's novels have been bestsellers (over a million copies have been sold in total). The importance of his work is demonstrated by two examples: El Mozárabe – which demonstrated the mozarab world's significance in Latin culture – is considered a classic of Spanish literature, and El Cautivo, which is taught in over 500 schools across Spain.
Adalid is the undisputed master of the genre in Spain: his precision, elegance and rich style, dedicated approach to the historical period in question, the extraordinary portrayal and psychology of his characters, and the strength of his plots and subplots make him by far the best read writer in the field, as shown by the fact that over a million copies of his books have been sold.
Judit, known as La Guapísima (The Pretty One) for her extraordinary beauty, is not yet twenty-five years old when she is widowed following the death of Aben Ahmad al-Fiqui, her Muslim husband, the marriage having been arranged by her father. After his death, Judit, who is Jewish, decides to seek a new husband, but is rejected by both Muslims and Jews due to the extremely fraught situation in Mérida, a city where revolts and riots abound; where everyone is tolerated but feared. The tense status quo in relations between Arabs, Berbers, Muladis, Jews and Christians will soon be shattered. Rivalry and fear, as well as the greed of rulers and the crippling annual tributes they must pay to Córdoba, will spark a rebellion against the centralized power of Abderramán II.
United by hatred of the emir of Córdoba, an alliance will be formed to overthrow the governor of Mérida, Marwán and free the population from his yoke, but Abderramán II will send one of the largest armies ever seen to subdue the city on pain of fire and blood... “I will destroy proud, rebellious Mérida. I will travel there to bring down their stubborn walls; I will reduce them to ashes and dust! Only stones and desolation will remain...”