“The bloody body of a young girl is found in the shop of a Jewish butcher in medieval Prague. A Talmudic scholar works against a deadline to solve the murder and save his community from annihilation. The Fifth Servant is dense, full of philosophy, history, and the pulse of a community under siege.”
— Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
In 1592 Prague, Emperor Rudolph II sits on the throne; the Papal Inquisitor has arrived to persecute witches and heretics; and the city's Jews live behind the walls of the ghetto. When the body of a young Christian girl is found in a Jewish shop on the eve of Passover, a blood libel charge is brought against the shopkeeper. The relative peace enjoyed by the Jewish community is in peril, and a rabbinic student just arrived from Poland must find the real culprit.