Prophesy fits the bill as a historical thriller set in Elizabethan England. The main character Giordano Bruno is an undercover agent and humanist trying to discover how true the rumors are that Mary Queen of Scott and her followers are plotting to overthrow Elizabeth I. Bruno is following leads by intercepting letters to Mary Queen of Scots, deciphering the code in the letter and then sending to Mary after carefully resealing. Bruno, an Italian expatriate, has a relationship with John Dee an astrologer of Elizabeth’s court. Astrological signs and symbols are the focus for Bruno who now has the job to discover who has murdered two young women of the Court with astrological signs carved on their dead bodies. Questions arise as we follow Bruno as he searches for the murderer. Is the suspect in the Queen’s Court, within her Catholic rivals, the French, the Spanish or among Bruno’s own group of undercover spies? In addition to the murder mystery, the author has done an outstanding job drawing the reader into the time period. You clearly see, smell and hear the London of the 16th Century. You feel the intrigue and fear as the author takes you deep into the conspiracies of the court. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction or mysteries. I am now planning to read Heresy the author’s first book to learn more about Giordano Bruno.
Rated of 5
by Therese X. (CALERA, AL)
Prophecy--Rumors, charms and truths
Prophecy by S.J. Parris---Sixteenth century defrocked monk, Giordano Bruno has escaped the Inquisition and is in exile in England. Working for Sir Francis Walsingham, the spymaster of Queen Elizabeth. Many Catholics feel they have authority to remove her from the throne because her father, Henry VIII, excommunicated from the Catholic Church and created himself as the head of the Church of England. Walsingham is assigned to create a network willing to assassinate the Queen to bring Catholicism and the Pope as religious head of England’s Church. Intertwined with this religious battle, there is also the battle of sciences and astrology, condemned by the Pope but studied by numerous scholars who possess writings which many believe will bring evil down to earth. Bruno, known as the “heretic monk” is a scholar and studies in the household of de Castelnau, a Catholic with French connections. Bruno meets people and plots aplenty to keep him---and the reader---guessing as to who is to be trusted and who might be a traitor.
This is a complex novel with many references to subjects and writings as well as supernatural abilities such as “scrying” to predict the future or death, for the Queen of England in particular. With all the characters and Bruno’s various comments to himself as well as telling his story in the first person, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if he’s suspicious of someone of of everyone. Overall a good read, but not easy to keep track of the characters in this ambitious mystery series.
Rated of 5
by Nancy D. (West Chester, PA)
Once again Parris delights with her character Bruno.The book is a historical whodunit filled with details and well drawn characters. I felt transported back to the era of Elizabeth I.
Rated of 5
by Joan C. (Warwick, RI)
The Hodge/Podge Who-Done-It!
An historical thriller by definition is a dramatic story designed to hold the reader's interest with a high degree of intrigue, adventure or suspense. Halfway through this book i was still trying to get all the characters straight. The story has multiple plots involving multiple characters - religious strife, black magic, astrology, royal and non-royal political alliances, along with murder and mayhem. By the time the culprits and their motives were revealed I'd forgotten they were characters in the plot. To the author's credit, those responsible for the crimes were not revealed until the very end, but by that time Renaissance England, and its inhabitants, both good and bad had become very tiresome.
Rated of 5
by Norman G. (Diamond Bar, CA)
Love the Historical Fiction Genre, but not this title
Prophecy has a fine plot, decent characterization, and pages of historical detail, but it all goes together to make an average read. I cannot really feel strongly for the anyone or actually get emotional about the villains. The novel typifies the word average. I usually read a book in 2 or 3 days. Prophecy took ten. The story might work for some but I am just glad it was a free copy.
Rated of 5
by Katherine T. (Atlanta, Georgia)
Realizing my heart is with mysteries and not historical fiction.
I was excited about reading this book since I love mystery novels and I love British history. I discovered that in the book Prophecy that I am not a fan of the two combined. I found the book a bit difficult to follow and since I had not read the first in the series, I found it hard to relate to the main character, Giordano Bruno. However, for those who enjoy historical fiction this book has it all. Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Catholics, Protestants, fair maidens, spies, monks, sorcery, evil and so on.
Rated of 5
by Sue Ellen S. (CEDAR FALLS, IA)
"The Plot Thickens..."
I love all things Elizabethan and so looked forward to reading this "historical thriller" set in the court of Queen Elizabeth Tudor. Indeed the stage immediately is set for the solving of a murder—"a virgin defiled in the very court of the Virgin Queen." What next? An attempted murder of Elizabeth herself on the 25th anniversary of her reign? My favorite parts of the book did not relate to murders (more than one) but rather to the accounts of various attempts to unseat Elizabeth from her throne. Always a central force in the story, Elizabeth actually appears in the story much too briefly for me. And yet when she does, the author portrays her vividly—"this open-minded, unashamedly intellectual woman who, behind the generous smiles she bestows now on her fawning courtiers, must have a will of steel to have ruled so long alone in a world of men." I was left wanting more, but fans of mystery will find this a good read.
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