29 November 2012

Review: Heresy by S.J. Parris

Heresy by S.J. Parris book cover
This is the cover design
on the book I read
We first meet our protagonist Giordano Bruno on the privy, reading a forbidden text in a monastery in Naples in the 1500s.

Unfortunately he is discovered, and Bruno's unabated desire for forbidden knowledge and the alleged sin of pride makes him a target for the Inquisition and he is forced to flee Naples. 

On the run for years, he agrees to go to Oxford in 1583 to work as a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham to root out traitors to Queen Elizabeth I.  Those practising Catholicism must do so in secret, and it is feared that there are plots to assassinate the Queen in order to return England to the Catholic faith.

However there is soon a bloody murder in Oxford and others tragically follow. Bruno begins to investigate, not knowing whether the murders are related to a treasonous plot or the work of a bloodthirsty member of the University.

I love this cover
design though, which
do you prefer?
Not trusted due to his status as an outsider, Bruno runs into his fair share of difficulties and this is further complicated by his own private and secret mission to use the opportunity in Oxford to track down an extremely rare manuscript.

Heresy is an excellent historical fiction novel, and the reader is able to gain a wonderful sense of being in 1500s Oxford. In fact, I was in London at the time of reading the novel, and twice visited Oxford while reading this book. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading these pages, having just visited these locations and being able to picture the places and scenes precisely as they were described. It really added to my reading pleasure.

Heresy is the first in the Giordano Bruno series of books by S.J. Parris, of which - at the time of this review - there are three:

  1. Heresy by S.J. Parris
  2. Prophecy by S.J. Parris
  3. Sacrilege by S.J. Parris
I have the next book in the series on my shelf already, Prophecy, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Glad to see you enjoyed this one..Now you must read all the others..This is one of my favorite historical mystery series.


  2. Hi Kimberlee, how great to hear it's one of your favourite historical mystery series'!! I'm trying to read a few shorter books at present, in the last ditch effort to reach my reading goal, so will probably end up reading Prophecy in the New Year, but will let you know how I get on.

    I'd love to have known the fictional and literary Bruno

  3. Nomi here. Just bought this for my reading now. Will sign in next time with my WordPress account!

  4. Excellent! (You could have borrowed it from me though as I have my own copy of this one). Hope you enjoy it as much as I did and looking forward to chatting to you about it when you finish it.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!