Late 12th century England and the city of York seemed to provide a sanctuary for the Jews who were elsewhere encountering hatred and violence. They were under the protection of the King, who found them useful in matters of money lending, and tolerated by the feudal lords who became debtors beyond the possibility of repayment. But when the refugees from French massacres sought asylum, the enmity of the English barons, restive under money bondage, created an atmosphere of tension and fear. The story centers around the persons of Baruch, leader among the Jewish money lenders, and his son Abram, who resented his father's source of wealth and heedless display, who questioned the allegiance to his people's faith, who loved a Gentile, Bett, and was friend of a young priest with whom he exchanged information regarding faith and doctrine. One becomes intimately involved in the tensions and intrigue and heightened emotions whipped up by those who wanted to rid themselves of the Jewish yoke -- and in the life of the times, changing as young Richard I succeeded to his moderate father's throne; one is carried along on the flood of intolerance, hatred and violence which brought a Jewish blood bath to England. An unusual- powerful-somewhat uneven historical novel. Worth reading.