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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.
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.
Beverly D. (Palm Harbor, FL)
blend of fact & fiction
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.
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.
Barbara R. (Fort Myers, FL)
I enjoy historical mysteries and Heresy did not let me down. Many twists, turns and surprises. I cannot wait for another Giordana Bruno adventure by S.J. Parris.
Nona F. (Evanston, IL)
Heresy, by SJ Parris
Readers of historical mystery novels will welcome the publication of Heresy by SJ Parris, a fast-paced novel of multiple murders at an Oxford college during the middle of the reign of Elizabeth I. Our detective protagonist is the Renaissance savant Giordano Bruno—excommunicant former monk and tutor in the study of memory to the King of France—whose latest move to escape the Inquisition on the continent is flight to England, where he becomes a somewhat unwilling spy in Walsingham’s secret service.
Mary Ellen L. (Canfield, OH)
Charged with rooting out Catholic dissidents at Oxford, Bruno finds himself an outsider looking in, a good position for a detective, but a dangerous one for a foreigner and a nominal Catholic during this period of English history. The novel is cleverly plotted (it kept me guessing the identity of the murderer until the denouement), easily mixes historical with fictional figures, and gives a good sense of the intellectual and political atmosphere of the period. The Catholic threat to England’s stability as portrayed in the novel resonates with our own contemporary concerns regarding homeland security. Readers will need to be on the alert (or be able to flip easily back and forth) early on, when a number of characters are introduced all at once at Oxford. The ending implies that there will be additional books in the series, and I look forward to the author developing his major characters more fully in the future.
Heresy is billed as a historical thriller and lives up to its promotional materials. The novel contains vivid descriptions of the turbulent 16th century as seen through the eyes of a renegade Italian monk visiting Oxford University. A mystery evolves which is solved by the visitor's intuition and wit, a pleasant diversion from the current crime-solving techniques of CSI. For history and mystery buffs, this is an interesting read.