The Jewess of Kaifeng

Written by Sophie Ferrer
Review by Sarah L. Johnson

This well-written historical adventure/romance set in 17th century. Macao and Kaifeng probably won’t find a mainstream publisher due to its unique and unmarketable setting. However, I’d love to be proven wrong. In 1690, Father Nicolo Pasio, Jesuit friar and occasional assassin, is given orders to infiltrate the Jewish enclave in the Chinese city of Kaifeng in order to steal its sacred Torah. Because Jews first settled in Kaifeng long before the birth of Christ, their scriptures may contain the most authentic version of the Old Testament in existence. But Nicolo has a secret that he dares not reveal to his Jesuit leaders, and his growing love and respect for Rebecca, a Chinese Jewess who closely guards her people’s heritage, cause him to rethink his loyalties. There’s sufficient action to keep the pages turning, and Ferrer’s characters are more finely drawn than those of most adventure novels. No one could have been more surprised than I to learn that the ancient Jewish settlement of Kaifeng is recorded as historical fact. This is a large-format paperback with small print, slightly more expensive than usual, but I believe it to be worth the money.