Isabel and Clara are growing up in a time of terror. It is 1492, and Spain has decreed that all Jews must either convert to Catholicism, go into exile or face trial and execution. Although forcibly baptized, the sisters are chased through Christendom until they arrive in Venice. It is in this great maritime empire, where opulence rhymes with tolerance, that Isabel organizes secret passages for refugees fleeing the Inquisition while Clara falls in love with a Venetian noble, Paolo Zane. Isabel intends for her family to go to Istanbul, the only place where Jews can live freely, but Clara is reluctant to leave. She challenges Isabel's authority and is prepared to break her family ties and sacrifice her faith for love. Caught in this battle of wills is Clara's daughter, Victoria, who finds she is about to be married into the same faith that murdered her father.