Dina's Lost Tribe: A Novel
by Brigitte Goldstein
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When Professor Henry "Henner" Marcus receives an
urgent plea for help from his cousin and fellow historian Nina
Aschauer, he abruptly leaves Chicago and travels to the South of France
where Nina has suddenly rematerialized after having disappeared without a
trace five years before.
While on sabbatical in Toulouse, France, Nina is
compelled to search for the mythical place in the Pyrenean Mountains
where she was born during her parents' flight from Nazi persecution. All
she knows is the name, but no "Valladine" can be found on any map. Her
inquiries lead her to an encounter with Alphonse de Sola, a rough-hewn
shepherd who offers to take her to the place. What she finds is love, a
medieval outpost arrested in time, and a mysterious codex written in
Hebrew letters that arouses her scholarly interest.
As Henner, Nina, and her best friend, Etoile
Assous, conspire to decipher the writing, they enter the passionate
world of a fourteenth-century Jewess, who calls herself Dina, whose
family was forced to flee France following the expulsion of the Jews
from the kingdom in 1306, while she herself had fallen victim to the
sexual intrigues of a fiendish priest.