A People Divided: Spain, 1491

medieval sword and red ribbon


It’s 1491. In Spain, Jews live in increasingly smaller communities. The Moorish kingdom of Granada is about to surrender to Queen Isabel of Castile and King Fernando of Aragon. The dominant group are Cristianos Viejos, Christians of old lineage. They have “clean blood.” Supposedly, they have not mixed with Jews or Moors.

At the bottom of this society are Conversos or “new Christians.” Their parents or grandparents converted to Christianity, voluntarily or not. It’s the dilemma of Conversos in Spain that inspired me to write THE RED RIBBON

Imagine having to hide what you are, what you believe. Who can you trust? Not your Jewish brethren (For a complete outlook). Jews regard you as apostates. Not Christians either. Christians suspect you, they despise your origins, and call you ugly names. You can’t hold certain offices. You are forbidden  from entering religious or military orders. And you are squarely in the sights of the Inquisition.

THE RED RIBBON is the story of Iñigo and Ynés. He is a Christian of old lineage, knight and officer of the Military of Order of Santiago, a veteran of the wars of Granada. To him, the solution for the ills of the kingdoms is the union in faith of the peoples of Spain. Exactly what Queen Isabel believes. Ynés is a Converso, a young widow, and a skeptic in matters of religion. Guess what she thinks of Queen Isabel?

THE RED RIBBON tells the story of a journey. It is the escape of Ynés and her family from the Inquisition, and of Iñigo from intolerance and prejudice.

Over five centuries have gone since 1491 and we are still debating many of the novel’s questions. Can people of deeply held beliefs coexist? Is redemption possible? Do people change?

The answers must be YES.



About Adelaida

Adelaida Lucena de Lower is a writer and avid reader. She has just finished THE RED RIBBON, a novel about prejudice and love set in 15th century Spain. She is writing and researching the next. Think Moorish invasion, Goths, treason, mayhem, and brother against sister.