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HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
This price was set by the publisher.
Heresy: The breathtaking first book in the the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling historical crime thriller series (Giordano Bruno, Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 405 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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The breathtaking opener to the Sunday Times betselling Giordano Bruno series--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
‘Heresy has everything – intrigue, mystery, excellent history and haunting sense of place. The beginning of a wonderful new detective series’ Kate Mosse
‘Fascinating … The period is incredibly vivid and the story utterly gripping’ Conn Iggulden (bestselling author of Bones of the Hills and The Dangerous Book for Boys)
‘Heresy is a riveting read. Rich in both historical detail and ingenious twists, S J Parris has created a character in Giordano Bruno that will endure. A true rival to C J Sansom’ Sam Bourne (bestselling author of The Righteous Men)
‘Heresy is a must-read for every fan of historical thrillers. S. J. Parris transports the reader back to an extraordinary time in history by mobilizing fascinating details, suspense, and fully-drawn characters. Giordano Bruno turns out to be that rare hero, charismatic and nuanced enough to impel an encore, and to leave us asking for more from the gifted Parris’ Matthew Pearl (author of The Dante Club)
'Parris paces her yarn perfectly' Daily Telegraph
'An atmospheric and well-written historical thriller' Guardian
'Parris succeeds where much historical fiction fails' Observer
'The places and people are vividly described with a merciful absence of period language, and the solution to this exciting, well-written tale comes as a real surprise' Literary Review--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B003ATPQXY
- Publisher : HarperCollins (4 March 2010)
- Language : English
- File size : 1469 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 405 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 71,073 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I had also been watching a series of brilliant BBC iPlayer documentary programmes about key events in the 16th Century, including Marvyn Bragg's 'The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England' and 'Elizabeth I's Secret Agents', so I was keen to get started.
A bit of background:
Melvyn Bragg's documentary tells the story of William Tynedale who set in motion a chain of events that led to the English Reformation. Melvyn matches his genius for the English language to Shakespeare, particularly in terms of his vision to 'inspire even the lowliest ploughboy' by translating the Bible for the first time into common English.
The English Reformation started with Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church in 1534 due to his quest for a male heir. When Pope Clement VII had refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could remarry, Henry declared that he alone should be the final authority in matters relating to the English church.
After Henry’s death, England continued to tilt towards Protestantism throughout Edward VI’s six-year reign, but when he died in 1553, this was followed by reactionary Catholicism under the new Queen Mary I who made aggressive attempts to reverse the English Reformation. Then, in 1559, Elizabeth I took the throne and, during her 44-year reign, steered the Church of England as a 'middle way' between Calvinism and Catholicism, with vernacular worship and a revised Book of Common Prayer.
And the book:
Set against such fascinating history, with very clever and subtle interweaving of historical fact, likely characters, intricate plots, and descriptive story-telling, this first book 'Heresy' sets the scene for a great series of five books set between 1583 and 1585 when England is rife with plots to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and return the realm to the Catholic faith.
Throughout the series, references to Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Walsingham (who became Principal Secretary of State in December 1573) are brilliant, especially in terms of his 'spy network' and 'spy school' for training 'spy skills' such as deciphering hidden codes written in invisible ink. Other detailed references to the way of life in the 16th century across class and country, the dawn of printing with it's undercover trade in secret hidden manuscripts, the fascinating architectural buildings of the period with secret chambers, passageways and 'priest holes' and the vivid portrayal of poverty, professional livelihoods and street life, give a real flavour of what life was like in those hard times.
In this book, we follow Bruno from his arrival in London for the first time, to his recruitment by Walsingham, to being sent undercover to expose his first treacherous conspiracy in Oxford. I won't say any more, as you will get caught up in the story from the get go, but I hope that, like me, after reading the whole series, you will be able to bring to mind the play of conversation, the plotting and intrigue, the fabulous scenery so richly described, and the wealth of knowledge that lingers after an exceptionally good read.
The murder story at the heart of this novel was quite satisfying but I was somewhat put off by finding every single character deeply unpleasant and unsympathetic. Every last one was mad or bad or dangerous to know. Most importantly, I disliked the main protagonist, Bruno, and therefore would not be particularly tempted to read any more of this series. He spends a lot of time hinting - or just telling us outright - about how brilliant he is and yet his progress through the investigation is frequently inept and any discoveries he makes are generally happy accidents. At the end, despite being repelled at how Walsingham's regime works, he still has his hand out for the cash & will continue to work for him. I was happy to see the last of him by the end of the book.
As I said at the start the murder mystery itself is gripping, with no shortage of suspects among the large cast of horrible characters. It's pleasantly creepy, the murders have a hint of serial killer about them and the author manages to generate a real feeling of menace. This novel is not for the faint hearted or those with delicate stomachs. There's a lot of gruesome detail about the murders, methods of torture, and the punishments visited upon heretics and traitors - there's an execution described towards the end in which someone being hanged, drawn and quartered is described in what I can only call loving detail. It literally gave me nightmares. Less would have been more here.
Solid murder mystery that gripped from the beginning but failed to convince me that I wanted to read more of this series.
Bruno is recruited by Walsingham to act as his spy and to uncover any catholic conspiracies against the queen. It is suspected that such conspiracies are operated by those of the prestigious Oxford academia who secretly adhere to the old faith and refuse to recognise Elizabeth’s legitimacy. Bruno has his own personal reasons to visit Oxford University library – he is searching for a prohibited occultist manuscript he believes may have found its way to England.
As soon as Bruno sets foot at the College a body of one of the Fellows is found mauled viciously by a diabolical dog, the death disturbingly resonant of the martyrdom of St Sebastian. At the insistence of the College Rector, the death is dismissed as an unfortunate accident. But soon another death follows and its similarity to yet another martyred saint cannot be ignored. Bruno is requested to investigate. He ventures into the secret world of sectarian Oxford and over the next few, action-packed days, risking his own life – and heart – follows the clues to make stunning discoveries and not only find the killer but also learn hard-hitting truths about devotion, love and passion, obsession and the all-destroying power of religious convictions.
The historical setting of the tumultuous Elizabethan era in general and the scholarly Oxford in particular provides a rich and intriguing background for a gripping thriller with a multi-layered and complex plot, vivid characters and a historically accurate theme. Bruno is an interesting protagonist: a man possessed of an open mind in the world rife with bigotry and dogmatism, a humanist and scientist, a survivor and a pragmatic idealist. I will be reading more of this series.