Giordano Bruno was a monk, poet, scientist, and magician on the run from the Roman Inquisition on charges of heresy for his belief that the Earth orbits the sun and that the universe is infinite. This alone could have got him burned at the stake, but he was also a student of occult philosophies and magic.
In S.J. Parris's gripping novel, Bruno's pursuit of this rare knowledge brings him to London, where he is unexpectedly recruited by Queen Elizabeth I and is sent undercover to Oxford University on the pretext of a royal visitation. Officially Bruno is to take part in a debate on the Copernican theory of the universe; unofficially, he is to find out whatever he can about a Catholic plot to overthrow the queen.
His mission is dramatically thrown off course by a series of grisly murders and a spirited and beautiful young woman. As Bruno begins to discover a pattern in these killings, he realizes that no one at Oxford is who he seems to be. Bruno must attempt to outwit a killer who appears obsessed with the boundary between truth and heresy.
Like The Dante Club and The Alienist, this clever, sophisticated, exceptionally enjoyable novel is written with the unstoppable narrative propulsion and stylistic flair of the very best historical thrillers.
Fans of historical mysteries will be thrilled to discover this first installment in an anticipated series. 25 out of 26 BookBrowse readers rated Heresy 4 or 5 stars. Here's what they had to say:
I loved this book! I was pulled into the story immediately and fascinated with all the twists and turns as well as the historical detail. It's intricately plotted, but avoids becoming cumbersome with details (Jean T). The characters are very well-developed, the story is exciting, and the mystery is a winner (Donna N)! I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and mysteries as well as those interested in English history (Chris G). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
The Washington Post
The final showdown, like many other dramatic moments in the novel, recalls similar scenes in countless adventure novels; and Parris's dialogue - courtly one moment and modern the next - often seems unmoored from the novel's era... Nevertheless, Bruno commands our attention and our sympathy as any likable heretic should.
Spirited storytelling, an appealing sleuth and a cool, mutilated villain will lead readers to hope this is the launch of a series.
Parris's debut historical thriller shines a light on the religious turmoil of 16th-century England, when men swore an oath to one faith but practiced another. Narrator Bruno (based on the real-life philosopher) is lively and sympathetic, and dedicated readers will be wholly satisfied in the end.
Starred Review. Parris interweaves historical fact with psychological insight as Bruno, a humanist dangerously ahead of his time, begins his quest to light the fire of enlightenment in Europe.
Conn Iggulden, New York Times bestselling author of The Dangerous Book for Boys and Bones of the Hills
Fascinating…The period is incredibly vivid and the story utterly gripping. Cadfael can't hold a candle to this
Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow 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.
Katherine Neville, New York Times bestselling author of The Eight and The Fire
The famous scientist, Giordano Bruno, erupts with volcanic force from the pages
of S.J. Parris' spellbinding debut novel, Heresy. Blending the
philosophical sleuthing skills of Brother Cadfael with the magic sorcery of
Voldemort, Bruno cracks the secret code, unraveling a Church conspiracy as deep
and dark as that in a Dan Brown novel.
Sam Bourne, New York Times bestselling author of The Righteous Men 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.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Dolena W. (Dallas, TX) Intriguing Work of Historical Fiction I thoroughly enjoyed this book - from the beginning to the end. Right away I was captivated by the characters, the historical setting and the unfolding mysteries. The best historical fiction always makes me want more - more information about the... Read More
Rated of 5
by Theresa W. (Apollo Beach, FL) Heresy Fans of historical fiction and mystery novels will find Heresy a successful blend of both genres. King Henry the Eight's lust for Ann Boleyn and a desire for a male heir resulted in a break from the Roman Catholic Church. The result of this... Read More
Rated of 5
by Chris G. (New Albany, Ohio) "Heresy" by S. J. Parris As someone with a degree in political science and history and who happens to be a fan of mysteries, I was immediately intrigued by S. J. Parris' novel "Heresy".
The story blends fact and fiction as it revolves around Giordano Bruno, a monk with... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL) Bit of a slow start but don't give up.... Excellent historical fiction, very well researched. Many plot twists but logically linked and difficult to put down. Great character development and easy to keep track of who's related and the school hierarchy. Hard to think of that much... Read More
Rated of 5
by Susan P. (Rehoboth, MA) Heresy by SJ Pariss The story takes place during the Inquisition and involves the murders of several university professors in England. The detective is a priest in exile who works as a spy for Queen Elizabeth. My impressions were that the book started out... Read More
Rated of 5
by Jean T. (Paducah, KY) Heresy I loved this book! I was pulled into the story immediately and fascinated with all the twists and turns as well as the historical detail. It was intricately plotted, but yet avoided becoming cumbersome with details. I was unable to predict the... Read More
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was an Italian Dominican priest, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. After studying for several years in Naples, he entered the Order of St. Dominic at the age of 15, and was ordained priest in 1572. He was known for his belief in the infinite nature of the universe, identifying the Earth's sun as just one of an infinite number of stars and heavenly bodies, and asserting that God had no particular relation to Earth over any other part of the universe. He was charged with heresy in 1576 for his views and outspoken criticism of theological doctrines.
From then on he wandered from country to country, facing persecution in each place until he was finally delivered to the Inquisition in 1592. The numerous charges against him included blasphemy, immoral conduct, and heresy. He refused to recant, and was burned at the stake on the Campo del Fiori in Rome, Feb. 17, 1600.
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