Nancy O. (Hobe Sound, FL)
A new medieval detective in Tudor England
Heresy is a new book in the realm of Medieval whodunits, with something for every mystery reader: spies, cryptic texts and codes, grisly murders and even a little romance.
While at times it moves rather slowly, with a lot of historical detail & debate thrown in, at the last part of the book the action picks up, the story unravels and all is made known. Throughout, the author's writing is very good, although I think she spent more time on plot rather than on her characters.
My understanding is that this is the first of a planned series, and hopefully the author will flesh out the ongoing characters a bit more. However, I liked this book, both for plot and writing. I'd recommend it to people who like CJ Sansom's Tudor era-based books, and to those who like historical mysteries in general, and people interested in the history of religion in England and Europe during the Tudor period.
Jane H. (Indianola, Iowa)
S.J. Parris takes what little is known about Giordano Bruno and turns out a taut, excellent well written mystery novel. Bruno's search for the killer keeps a reader turning the pages. Parris not only know her characters well, but she understands the culture, morals and religious problems of 1583 Oxford and England.
Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)
An Intelligent Mystery
What a novel setting for a murder mystery; Oxford, England, in the 1500's. This is a fun read. Heresy is well written in modern day English (not Old World English). There is love, danger, politics, religion, and interesting characters of all ages.
Even though the setting is during the Inquisition, the political and religious issues are relevant today. The author does an excellent job of describing the sparse and uncomfortable living conditions of this era. Their discourse is intelligent and fraught with double meanings. I will watch for more books from this author.
Sandy C. (Houston, TX)
Entertaining combination of historical fiction and mystery thriller
An extremely entertaining read, particularly for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and mystery thrillers. Heresy follows the story of Giordano Bruno, a monk and scientist during the Elizabethan era, who is sent to Oxford on an undercover mission by Sir Francis Walsingham. While at Oxford, Bruno becomes central to the search, as well as a target, for a killer who is murdering Oxford professors and students. Filled with plot twists and turns, I truly enjoyed Heresy and look forward to other books in this series. Although not written in the same era and lighter in style, Heresy reminded me of Iain Pears' Instance of the Fingerpost and Umberto Eco's Name of the Rose.
Beverly D. (Palm Harbor, FL)
blend of fact & fiction
For fans of historical thrillers (i.e. Cadfael series) this is for you. A very clever,sophisticated who-dunnit with twists & turns along the way. The writing is good; not great... I did find myself plodding through some sections .
Patricia S. (Menlo Park, CA)
Historical fiction at its best!
The story of Giordano Bruno comes to life in this engaging book that provides a page turning read. It is set in Oxford in the late sixteenth century and shows the extremes of cruelty committed in the name of "Faith." The struggle of real people trying to come to grips with competing loyalties. It is full of believable characters and delicious intrigue. A very good read indeed.
Darlene C. (Simpsonville, SC)
Thumbs up for "Heresy" by S.J. Parris
I really enjoyed the book and couldn't wait to get home everyday and read a bit more! This historical "whodunit" prompted me to investigate the real characters used, so I learnt a bit of history as well. I can see this becoming a very successful BBC series similar to "Cadfael". Heard this was the first book of three and I can't wait for the next one.