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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 time period and more about the characters. This book did all that. I repeatedly found myself doing online research to find out more about the main character - a complicated and fascinating man and the events of this time period. I was generally aware of the persecution of Catholics in England, but I did not fully appreciate the extent of the killing in the name of religion until I picked up this book.
Theresa W. (Apollo Beach, FL)
The more I read this book, the faster I read - rushing to get to the answers. I hope this author writes more books in this historical period, especially if they involve Giordano Bruno and Sophia (I love independent and intelligent women who lived in contrary times).
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 action is the background setting for multiple murders at Oxford University in 1583. A possible romantic interest and the hunt for rare manuscripts enhances the plot and keeps the pace moving.
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".
Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL)
Bit of a slow start but don't give up....
The story blends fact and fiction as it revolves around Giordano Bruno, a monk with a long resume. He is a scientist, a philosopher, a magician and as some historical documents have indicated, he may well have added spy to his list of job titles as well. But it was his heliocentric view of the universe that put him at odds with the church and on the run.
When he flees he travels throughout Europe and winds up in England where he is recruited by Queen Elizabeth I to ferret out a Catholic plot to overthrow the queen. Before he can really get into his investigation, bodies begin to turn up and he is drawn into finding the murderer.
What I loved about this book was the writer's style. She kept things interesting and gave just enough detail without weighing the story down with too much prose as so many writers of historical fiction are want to do. Her characters are well-developed and she does a good job of splitting time between the plot and a fascinating period of history. It's a time when what one believes could well get them killed if they shared those beliefs with the wrong individual.
I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and mysteries as well as those interested in the English history. I for one hope this turns into a series because I would definitely purchase the next one.
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 religious persecution existing...all in the name of God. Dr. Bruno innocently gets pulled in to aid in solving the crimes by the school Rector. The mystery steadily builds right to the very end, no let down or loose ends. Would definitely recommend investing the time.
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 interestingly enough, but got stuck with repetitive scenarios mid-way through. I liked the descriptions of life during that time period but felt the book would have benefited from stronger editing. Probably a good beach read.
Jean T. (Paducah, KY)
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 outcome, but the resolution was fully consistent and satisfactory with the plot development. I highly recommend this book!!
Marganna K. (Edmonds, WA)
Heresy - a Good, Solid Read
I enjoyed this book - the story line is strong; the characters are well developed and I cared what happened to them. It was suspenseful until the end. Good news bad news: Good: In addition to being an enjoyable book, I learned considerable information about the period of time (1580), Oxford University, the Catholic Church, etc; Bad: it was so story driven and so suspenseful I wouldn't stop reading long enough to research more history and gain additional background of the time period and situations. However, I will pursue the interest the book sparked by reading more history for that time and setting. The author was kind to the reader by NOT filling pages with meaningless "filler". Although there are graphic parts to the novel, I would not classify them as unnecessary. Part of my criteria for giving a book a "good" rating: would I recommend it to book clubs and friends - yes; and if l lost the book, would I seek another one out to finish it - yes; and would I read another book by this author - yes. Good book.
Alice W. (Sacramento, CA)
Prepare to step into England 1583 as you read this novel. The food, the clothing, the living conditions all become integral to the plot. So enjoy as a mystery evolves and is patiently and painfully investigated by Father Bruno who is himself on the run. Murders are committed that you could never imagine. the central location Oxford becomes a dark and dangerous venue...the beautiful daughter of Oxford's rector will shock and amaze you. There are so many complex plot ideas that are truly original and tied to the Inquisition. Warning! This may be too intense for dark night reading. Fasten you seat belt and enjoy.