A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Readers first meet Dominican monk Giordano Bruno as he examines a prohibited text in the monastery privy. Discontented with the Church’s teachings, Bruno is a believer of Copernicus’s heliocentric theory of the universe. After escaping the Inquisition, he spends years on the run, offering his services as a teacher and ever on the lookout for Hermes Trismegistus’ divine Egyptian text. To be Catholic in 1583 England is synonymous with sedition, and an odd twist of fate sees Bruno employed by Queen Elizabeth. His cover: to give a debate at Oxford; his purpose: to ferret out heresy at the university. What Bruno finds is a lovely young woman, a group of secretive Fellows, and a series of brutal murders.
Parris shines a light on the religious turmoil of 16th century England, when men swore an oath to one faith but practiced another. Narrator Bruno (based on the real-life philosopher) is lively and sympathetic, and dedicated readers will be wholly satisfied in the end. Recommended for fans of historical thrillers along the lines of The Eight by Katherine Neville (Ballantine) and The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (Random House).
–Reviewed by Jamie