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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Acts of Faith is a work of historical fiction focusing on mysterious events brought about by the activity of the Portuguese Inquisition, penned by author Martin Elsant. In the first novel of The Inquisition Trilogy, we find ourselves in Europe of the sixteenth century where religion is highly important and the faith one practices can result in life or death, depending on who has the power. The person in question here is Diego Lopes, who dies in an auto-da-fé (heretic burning), or at least he’s supposed to. Elsant explores the beliefs on either side of the divide of religion from those who viewed Lopes as a sinner or a saint.
Not knowing a great deal about this area of history, I was delighted to find myself so well entrenched in the world of sixteenth-century Portugal right from the opening of this excellent tale. Author Martin Elsant pays attention to detail and creates a great atmosphere with the word images which are painted through every scene. Perhaps the strongest element of this history-come-to-life is in its social awareness and character development. The players of the tale reflect authentic attitudes and beliefs of the time, and they feel the pain of oppression, suspicion and the power of the Inquisition with palpable emotional energy. The story is one of struggle and conflict, but also of love and the search for the truth. Overall, top-quality writing makes Acts of Faith a highly recommended read for fans of world history.