The revised and expanded edition of The Purple Ring, the sixth installment of the sensational The Strasbourg Saga, portrays the final months of the Sabbatean movement and its aftermath from the perspective of the Jews of Europe as euphoria turns to despair.
As the story unfolds, tensions between Jews and gentiles are strained as the frenzy of the Shabbesai Tzvi's movement grips the European cities and towns. But even as the drama plays itself out in distant Constantinople, trouble of a different kind is brewing in Pulichev. The Purple Ring, a clandestine gang of scoundrels, is plotting to accuse the Jewish people of Pulichev of high treason.
There are many twists and turns as the exciting story unfolds. The count's granaries are burned under cover of darkness. An apostate priest meets with a sinister figure among the gravestones in the churchyard. A Turkish spy is captured, but before he can be interrogated, he dies under suspicious circumstances. Assassins penetrate Bernowiecz Castle when they learn that a Polish national hero will be spending the night.
Plots within plots are hatched under dark midnight skies. Time is running out, and Rav Shloime Strasbourg knows that if he doesn't unravel the web of mysteries very soon, the Jewish community of Pulichev faces expulsion.
In the course of the story, General Jan Sobieski, often called the "George Washington of Polish history," embarks on an early campaign of his long and brilliant military career. Details relating to the character of Sobieski are historical. His encounters with the characters of the Strasbourg Saga are, or course, fictional.
The book also tells the harrowing story of the illustrious Maharshak, Rav Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover, who authored the Tiferes Shmuel commentary on the Rosh and Sefer Birchas Hazevach, which was instrumental in opening Seder Kodoshim to serious study.
All Books in the Strasbourg Saga, by Avner Gold:
The Promised Child - 1592-1642
The Dream - 1643-1646
The Year of the Sword - 1647-1649
Twilight - 1649-1658
The Impostor - 1651-1669
The Purple Ring - 1666-1667
Envoy from Vienna - 1668-1670
The Marrano Prince - 1672-1680
The Long Road to Freedom - 1680-1683
Scandal in Amsterdam - 1683-1684
The Fur Traders - 1684-1685
Midnight Intruders - 1686-1714