Book Description: From historian James Reston, Jr., comes a riveting account of the pivotal events of 1492, a year when towering political ambitions, horrific religious excesses, and a drive toward adventure and conquest changed the world forever. The Dogs of God chronicles one of the most savage epochs in human history, the years of the Spanish Inquisition. In an effort to consolidate their power on the Iberian peninsula and free themselves from the yoke of the Vatican, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella turned to the priest Tomás de Torquemada, a member of the Dominican order. Torquemada urged an Inquisition that would strengthen the sovereigns’ authority throughout Spain, particularly in the coming campaign against the Moors of Granada. When Granada fell, tens of thousands of Muslims were given the choice of converting to Christianity or facing death or banishment. Torquemada then turned his ferocity on Spain’s Jews, forcing upon them the same grim choice. And in the end, more than 120,000 Jews left their homeland. With rich characterizations of the central players and breathtaking descriptions of the starkly beautiful Iberian peninsula, Dogs of God also portrays a time during which the entanglement of religious and political passions set the stage for the birth of modern Europe. Ferdinand and Isabella, in solidifying their control over the Iberian peninsula, also presaged the creation of the modern state, with its centralized authority and its collective sense of identity.Reston’s engrossing narrative brings all of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition into a terrifyingly brutal focus. And he looks beyond the dark deeds of 1492 as well, capturing the excitement of exploration and the promise of the future that was born in the same year. With an iron grip secured on the political affairs of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella turned their eyes toward the New World and the creation of an empire—and toward a young sea captain named Christopher Columbus.