from the dust jacket of the 1966 Doubleday first edition
Thomas de Torquemada [1420-1498] was Prior of Segovia in the year 1483, and as such, the head of the local inquisition. It was a grievous responsibility, for Thomas was a man of human feeling; it hurt him when people cast down their eyes as he passed, just as he truly suffered each time he put a heretic to the stake to cleanse and purify his immortal sole.
Thomas was also a man without friends, save for the family of Alvero de Rafel. Alvero, one of the noblest knights of Spain, had been Thomas's companion for as long as either could recall, and Thomas loved his gracious wife Maria and beautiful daughter Catherine as if they were his own.
Then, one hot summer day, the two friends each received an imperial summons, to Seville: Alvero to counsel Isabella on a daring venture proposed by a Genoese sailor named Columbus; Thomas to be named Grand Inquisitor of all Spain by Ferdinand and charged with the sacred duty of purging the land of heretics. By the time the two had returned to Segovia, Thomas had become a righteous man -- and Alvero for the first time in his life knew the taste of fear.
Thus begins Howard Fast's extraordinary tour de force, and as he gradually reveals the terrible inner truths at the core of the Inquisition (and all inquisitions that have followed), the impact is overwhelming. TORQUEMADA is a shattering reading experience.
The author of a number of best-selling novels, including Spartacus, Power, and Citizen Tom Paine, Howard Fast has attained a new dimension in this unforgettable tale of the fifteenth century that has chilling overtones for the twentieth.