Read what people think about The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia, and write your own review.

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Fifth Servant

by Kenneth Wishnia

The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia X
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Feb 2010
    400 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Reviews

Page 1 of 3
There are currently 18 reader reviews for The Fifth Servant
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

MarcĂ­a from New Jersey

Thoughtful, well researched & exciting storyline
Wishnia gives a detailed experience of what life was like during the 16th century Prague, including superstitions and rituals of the Jewish & Christian traditions and a murder mystery with lots of twists and turns that will surprise you til the end.

Wishnia pulls no punches when identifying offending parties & situations leading to the murder. His rich characterizations give readers a complete and plausible (but unexpected) explanation of how and why the crime occurred.

This is a dense read-not bubbly beach book-but well worth it.
Bill L. (Hilliard, OH)

The Fifth Servant
I really enjoyed The Fifth Servant. From the start, it was was well thought out with multiple twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. So suspenseful, that I couldn't put the book down once I started reading. Wishina has a wonderful way with words that makes you believe you are actually in the story itself. Don't be put off by the language barrier, it's part of the journey that will make this a memorable story you will never forget.
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)

Historical Mystery
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia is all it purports to be: an intelligent mystery, an entertaining story, a fascinating history, and a great lesson in Talmudic thought and linguistics. It is one of those books that keeps me up all night, crying, "Just one more chapter." I would recommend it to all who love a mystery such as Dick Francis's Proof and Alex Haley's Money that teach a subject while you solve the crime! There is a glossary - wish it had pronunciation key as well.
Power Reviewer Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)

A Taste of History and Mystery
I started this book with some trepidation because the time (16th Century) and the place (Prague) were not good times to be a Jew. I soon found myself immersed in the excellent writing and I found the book to be a good choice.
Though it isn't a happy story, it is one worth reading.
Wendy R. (Riverside, CA)

The Fifth Servant
The Fifth Servant takes place over three days, but is not a fast paced book for all the author tries to accomplish, both in conveying the historical aspects of the time period as well as the more philosophical discussions that take place between the characters. There are also the personal stories. Benyamin's attempts to reconcile with his wife and Anya and her own internal struggles, including whether or not to pursue forbidden love. There is building tension, especially as Benyamin's deadline to bring forward the real killer approaches and the angry mob outside the gates grows more and more violent. The mystery itself, the search for what happened to the murdered girl, seemed almost secondary to the other events taking place to the book. Still, it definitely is what moved the story forward.

The Fifth Servant was not quite I expected, but I did enjoy it. I would have preferred there to have been more of a balance between the mystery itself and the other aspects of the novel; however, there was so much going on that I can see how challenging that might be. The inquisition is an interesting and sad part of our world's history, and I was inspired to do a little research into the time period the novel is set in after finishing it--always a good sign.
Carrie L. (Albany, NY)

A good read that requires concentration
This book is incredibly rich and dense. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience, but I found myself taking notes and reading slowly. The time and place were foreign to me, so readers familiar with 1592 Prague may have an easier go. I highly recommend it for literary mystery fans and ambitious, serious readers.
Belma M. (Odessa, Texas)

5th Servant
This book was good. It was a little hard with the different languages switching back and forth but I was able to keep up. This book is for anyone who likes a mystery.
Susan B. (Rutledge, MO)

Fascinating!
I'm not normally a mystery reader, so I chose this due to the setting, namely the Jewish ghetto in Prague in 1592. I enjoy languages and there are plenty in this book-- Yiddish, Hebrew, Czech, German, Polish, sprinkled throughout the text -- but understanding the non-English words is fairly easy, either from context or the very helpful glossary provided. I found the plot compelling, the historical, religious and cultural details fascinating, and the way the story was told intriguing.

What began as a slight frustration became something of a game for me: while reading I found myself wanting to pay extra-close attention to characters and events in (what seemed to be) the background, because I never knew which, if any, might become the focus of the next chapter. Regular mystery readers, or those who read more slowly and/or carefully, might not experience this, and while my fellow quick-and-dirty readers might find it annoying, I found it an engaging challenge.

I found some of the Inquisition details too graphic for my taste, but all in all it was an extremely enjoyable read; highly recommended.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

More Information

Readalikes

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.