At eighty-two years old, Mary Lee Settle set off alone to find the Spain she thought she knew. But, like Columbus on another voyage of discovery, she found something many things that she hadn't even known she was looking for. Winner of a National Book Award for fiction and author of an acclaimed book of travel and history on Turkey, Settle brings to her task the visual equivalent of perfect pitch. She follows the great, traumatic flows in Spanish history: the Moorish conquest from south to north, and the Christian reconquista several hundred years later in the opposite direction. Those epic struggles, shaped by geography, are the source of the fascinating tensions in the Spanish character, in its art, architecture, and literature, and the author's magical prose puts these gifts in our hands."