Thursday, 5 April 2012

S.J. Parris: Prophecy

Prophecy is the second Giordano Bruno book and Stephanie Merritt's style has become much more assured.  This novel is much stronger on plot than the first (Heresy) - I found it gripping all the way through.  The historical background is beautifully done.  The detail is rich and many layered and made me feel that I really was in Tudor London.  There are no 'obvious' touches - the research doesn't show at all.

Giordano Bruno - heretic and ex-monk - is a guest at the French embassy in London at the request of King Henri of France.  He finds himself at the centre of a conspiracy to put Mary, Queen of the Scots, (currently imprisoned at Sheffield Castle) on the English throne and restore a catholic monarchy.  Bruno, paid by Walsingham to spy for Queen Elizabeth, finds his position very uncomfortable.  A young maid-in-waiting to the queen has been murdered with strange astrological symbols carved upon her body and all the evidence points towards the supporters of Mary Stuart.  Soon, Bruno's own life is in danger.  When the ambassador's wife returns from Paris and makes it clear that she wants Bruno's body - very much alive - in her bed, his loyalties are also put to the test.

This is a five star read for lovers of historical crime fiction.  I can't wait to read the new book - Sacrilege - out at the end of April. 

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