Book - 2010
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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.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385531283
Characteristics: 435 p. ; 25 cm.


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Oct 31, 2015

a pretty good mystery. I like "period pieces" because I find it interesting to read about other times. The violence between religions is always so tragic and a sorriful comment on humanity because of those differences. We're still seeing that intolerance today.

Apr 01, 2015

I liked it enough that I will end up reading the next one sometime.
I found that there were just too many unlikeable characters and too many fanatics for me to enjoy it more.

Jul 08, 2014

A really fun read! Historical Fiction with a mystery twist! I loved it!

samdog123 Sep 17, 2012

An interesting historical thriller. Giordano Bruno, an ex-italian monk, works undercover for Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster for Queen Elizabeth I. Bruno is sent to Oxford to seek out an underground Catholic network. Murders begin to happen, all tied into those following the Catholic religion, outlawed in England at the time. Interesting to see how religion and politics were so tied up together.

bookfanatic1979 Jul 12, 2012

I’ve read so much about Elizabethan England that yet another squabble between the Protestants and the Catholics just didn’t appeal. It’s a pity, because this is a very well-done, well researched book. If I’d come across this series at an earlier time in my life I probably would have devoured it. I read the blurb for the next in the series and had absolutely zero interest in it. Moving on.

Feb 14, 2012

One of the best books, I have read many years - a page turner.

Jul 19, 2011

Finally, a book that I can say that I was genuinely intrigued by! I started this book believing it to be about the war between science and faith, but it turns out that it is faith versus faith. Still, the question of whodunit brings Bruno (and the reader) on a thrilling chase to an unexpected conclusion (at least for me). It brings about the question, what is right and wrong? Who can answer that with certainty? Is the truth sometimes better left unsaid?


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