By S.J. Parris
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780307947468, 432pp.)
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
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London, summer of 1584: Radical philosopher, ex-monk, and spy Giordano Bruno suspects he is being followed by an old enemy. Instead, he is shocked to discover that his pursuer is in fact Sophia Underhill, a young woman with whom he was once in love. When Bruno learns that Sophia has been accused of murdering her husband, a prominent magistrate of Canterbury, he agrees to do anything he can to help clear her name.
But in the city that was once England’s greatest center of pilgrimage, Bruno uncovers a more dangerous plot in the making, one that forces him to turn his detective’s eye to the strange case of Saint Thomas Becket, a twelfth-century cardinal of Canterbury Cathedral whose mysterious murder is only matched by the legend surrounding the disappearance of his body.
S. J. PARRIS is the pseudonym of Stephanie Merritt. Since graduating from Cambridge she has worked as a critic and feature writer for a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as for radio and television. She currently writes for The Observer and The Guardian and is the author of five books.
- Early in the novel, Bruno observes that Sophia Underhill’s “independent spirit and determination to shape her own life” have been the cause of her disgrace. Is this true? Did the book give you a sense of why an independent spirit was a dangerous thing for a woman in that society?
“Reinforces Parris’s position at the top of the Elizabethan historical pack. . . . Parris . . . masterfully mixes political intrigue, action, and sleuthing.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Giordano Bruno turns out to be that rare hero, charismatic and nuanced.” —Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
“A feast for fans of historical thrillers. . . . [Bruno] is one of the most engaging characters ever created.” —Bookreporter
“Move over C. J. Sansom, S.J. Parris has arrived. . . . Brilliant.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Bruno commands our attention and our sympathy as any likable heretic should.” —The Washington Post Book World
“The novel's fast pace and numerous twists keep readers hooked until the end.” —Booklist
“The politics of Elizabethan England play a part, but it’s the personal relationships that are front and center. A good read.” —The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)
“Parris provides a sumptuously rich setting with an absorbing entangled plotline that will keep the reader on a precipice of sudden death.” —Historical Novels Review
“Enjoyably ingenious.” —The Sunday Times (London)