This is actually the story of Raquel's father, the merchant Ibraham of Seville, who left Seville to become one of the privy council of King Alfonso VIII, whose campaign against Seville had been lost at great cost to the economy of Castile. Ibraham, now known as Don Yehula, held a perilous post:- he had reassumed the Judaism he had been forced to abandon in childhood in Seville; he was disliked by the Christians who were jealous of his growing power and distrusted by his own people. But Alfonso found himself increasingly dependent on the man who was rebuilding the country's economy, financing his ventures, and striving to hold him to the period of peace he had agreed to. But then Alfonso falls in love with Raquel; and the spite of his queen, living in Burgos, turned against Don Yehuda and his daughter, and took its form in engineering a pact with Aragon and in preparations for joining the Second Crusade by attacking the infidels in southern Spain -- whose power proved again too great for the Christian knights. In the chaos that resulted, the Jews were once more the scapegoat, and Raquel and Don Yehuda perished by the sword. Feuchtwanger has brought new life to a little known story, and made an unseemly period of world history take on new significance. The story now and again bogs down in the trappings of scholarship, but in the main is good reading.