The Heretic by Miguel Delibes

A while ago I found the book in a library. I wanted to read it as I have read some other book written by Delibes and I always enjoy his writings. This is his last book and the most extensive. The main character is Ciprian Salcedo and the plot is build around his life: from his birth (the same year Luther’s Church was formed) until his tragic death. It’s a great novel, very human, that through Cipriano tells us the historic truths of that period, the proceedings of the Inquisition, the secret meetings of the Protestants and their conversations.

Cipriano always tried to fill empty spaces in his life: when he was born his mother died and his father thought he was guilty for her death and for this reason he never showed any proof of love to his son. Because of this Cipriano put all his life and love in hands of his nurse, Minervina. When he lost Minervina and realized that all his attempts to find her were useless he was empty again, and as his wife, Teodomira, couldn’t fill his emptiness he joined the group of Protestants from Valladolid trying to find what he was looking for. The novel describes a Valladolid reluctant to all that was new or changed, where all that was different from the beliefs of that time was rejected and punished.


The end of the novel is sad, describing the tortures of a merciless Inquisition that killed in the name of God and Love. Cipriano’s death is similar to a religious death. Thanks to his uncle Ignacio, Minervina, the most important person in Cipriano’s life, could accompany him on the way to his death, which reminds us of Maria Magdalena and Jesus.

In spite of some thick passages the book is a great historical novel and at the same time the history of a life. A very recommended book.

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