Masterfully blending true events with fiction, this blockbuster historical thriller delivers a page-turning murder mystery set on the sixteenth-century Oxford University campus.
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.
P r o l o g u e
Monastery of San Domenico Maggiore, Naples
The outer door was thrown open with a crash that resounded along the passage,
and the floorboards shook with the purposeful marching of several
pairs of feet. Inside the small cubicle where I perched on the edge of a
wooden bench, taking care not to sit too close to the hole that opened over
the cesspit beneath, my little candle flickered in the sudden draught of their
entrance, sending wavering shadows growing and shrinking along the stone
walls. Allora, I thought, looking up. They have come for me at last.
The footsteps halted outside the cubicle door, to be replaced by the furious hammering of a fist and the abbots throaty voice, strained beyond its usual placid tones of diplomacy.
Fra Giordano! I order you to come out this instant, with whatever you hold in your hands in plain sight!
I caught a snigger from one of the monks who accompanied him, swiftly followed by a stern...
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).
Full Review (502 words).
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 ...
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