This book is the first in a series about the Jews of early thirteenth-century Europe, The Chronicles of Meir ben Yaakov. This first book illustrates how mitzvot and the kindness of strangers facilitate tracking missing people and help solve a perplexing mystery.
Meir Ben Yaakov is a young boy of twelve who is commonly mistaken for his older brother due to their striking resemblance. His brother mysteriously disappeared some time earlier and no one will discuss the subject with Meir at all. Now Meir seems to be in danger although he is not sure why. His family sends him to another community to live with a cousin he has never met. Danger follows him there, as well. He travels from one community to the next, unprepared at first to solve the problems he encounters, or to protect himself. The kinship of the Jews he meets along the way makes it possible for him to survive.
In each place he learns bits of information about his lost brother but faces unexplained dangers and frightening experiences at every turn.
The book is filled with suspenseful moments that will keep readers ages 10 to 13 enthusiastically turning the pages. There are many references to Orthodox customs of the times but a glossary is included that provides helpful educational explanations.