Heresy

SJ Parris

Heresy

England, 1583. A country awash with paranoia and conspiracy – but a safe haven for a radical monk on the run. Giordano Bruno, with his theories of astronomy and extraterrestrial life, has fled the Inquisition for the court of Elizabeth I. Here, he attracts the attention of Francis Walsingham, chief spymaster and sworn enemy of Catholic plotters. Bruno is sent undercover to Oxford, where the university is believed to be a hotbed of French dissent. Bruno quickly finds himself drawn into college intrigues, and distracted by a beautiful young woman. Before long, he is investigating a hideous series of murders, each linked by a letter offering clues. The letters suggest that each victim was guilty of heresy. But is Bruno being aided or misled — or is he himself the next target? Stalking a cunning and determined killer through the shadowy cloisters of Oxford, Bruno realizes that even the wise cannot always tell truth from heresy. But some are prepared to kill for it. 3.0 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Heresy

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Crime, Thrillers & Mystery, Historical Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 512
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication March 2010
ISBN 978-0007317707
Publisher HarperCollins
 

England, 1583. A country awash with paranoia and conspiracy – but a safe haven for a radical monk on the run. Giordano Bruno, with his theories of astronomy and extraterrestrial life, has fled the Inquisition for the court of Elizabeth I. Here, he attracts the attention of Francis Walsingham, chief spymaster and sworn enemy of Catholic plotters. Bruno is sent undercover to Oxford, where the university is believed to be a hotbed of French dissent. Bruno quickly finds himself drawn into college intrigues, and distracted by a beautiful young woman. Before long, he is investigating a hideous series of murders, each linked by a letter offering clues. The letters suggest that each victim was guilty of heresy. But is Bruno being aided or misled — or is he himself the next target? Stalking a cunning and determined killer through the shadowy cloisters of Oxford, Bruno realizes that even the wise cannot always tell truth from heresy. But some are prepared to kill for it.

SJ Parris is the pseudonym of Stephanie Merritt.

PROPHECY by SJ Parris

Reviews

The Guardian

John O'Connell

I can't remember ever reading a novel as gaudily, ecstatically derivative as Heresy. But then it is a kind of meta-thriller: an explicit mash-up of [Umberto] Eco's masterpiece [The Name of the Rose], CJ Sansom's Shardlake novels and Iain Pears's Oxford-set An Instance of the Fingerpost. A weirder though no less salient influence is JK Rowling ... That it succeeds as often as it does is a tribute to Merritt's skill – but also her taste.

13/03/2010

Read Full Review


The Literary Review

Jessica Mann

The places and people are vividly described with a merciful absence of period language, and the solution to this exciting, well-written tale comes as a real surprise.

01/03/2010

Read Full Review


The Observer

Wally Dalloway

I'd have preferred more subtle sleuthing before the melodramatic finale, but, since vengeful Catholics are involved, the gore is good, especially the deaths aping those in Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Parris succeeds where much historical fiction fails in making her characters enlightened rather than medieval village idiots.

25/04/2010

Read Full Review


The Daily Telegraph

Jake Kerridge

This breathless historical thriller is intended to be a kind of Name of the Rose-lite, and with its lethal libraries and fractious cloistered community the Eco-echoes are resonant enough to lend Heresy more than a pinch of that novel’s magic. Background and characters are sometimes a touch cardboardy, but Parris (alias the journalist Stephanie Merritt) paces her yarn perfectly.

14/04/2010

Read Full Review


The Washington Post

Anna Mundow

… a vigorous philosophical thriller that wastes no time getting to the point … 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.

27/02/2010

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore