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Heresy (2011)

av S. J. Parris

Serier: Giordano Bruno (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,38910613,706 (3.52)122
Fiction. Mystery. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML: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.… (mer)
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engelska (103)  spanska (3)  italienska (1)  Alla språk (107)
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“A time when the life of a philosopher was as fraught with danger as a soldier’s in battle”. This here is my quick review of Heresy by Mrs. Parris, a historical novel whose protagonist is none other than Giordano Bruno. The novel is set mostly in England - Bruno’s early life as a Dominican friar and escape from Italy to England gets short shrift - at the university of Oxford where he gets involved in a rather intriguing murder mystery. The plot is well thought out, the characters, and events are believable. What’s more, if you aren’t too familiar with the life and times of Giordano Bruno, the novel educates.
Even better, if you like Giordano in the Sherlockian mode, this is just the first in a trilogy. So, there are plenty more detective mysteries to enjoy. ( )
  nitrolpost | Mar 19, 2024 |
nice historical mystery
manages to create sympathy despite the morally questionable undercover activities of the Bruno character.




( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
Given a lifelong interest in the Tudor period and my prior enjoyment of C J Sansom's series, I was drawn to the first in this series set during the reign of Elizabeth I. Giordano Bruno, a real historical character, is the protagonist, who tells the story in first person narrative. The Prologue introduces Bruno some years before the main action, where he is threatened with being brought before the Inquisition due to his taste in reading and his adherence to the theories of Copernicus - that the Earth orbits the sun rather than the other way round. Bruno's own views go further and he believes in other solar systems, which is regarded by the Catholic Church as heretical, and heretics are burned at the stake.

The main action cuts to several years later after he has escaped across Europe, having many trials on the way. Despite winning the patronage of Henri III, the French King, he has had to take ship to the more tolerant country of England to evade the extremists now coming to power in France especially as he is still on the Inquisition's wanted list. Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, recruits him - he is due to go to Oxford in the company of his friend Sir Philip Sidney to take part in a debate. While there, Walsingham wants him to ferret out any Catholics who might be plotting against the Queen. Ironically, Bruno has to pass himself off as a Catholic - as an Italian, he does not seem quite as endangered as English Catholics might be - especially since he is now what we would regard as a humanist. Certainly, he does not believe in either the Catholic or Protestant dogmas.

In Oxford, Bruno is soon embroiled in trying to catch a killer when one of the college fellows is murdered and other deaths follow. All this is against a background of college politics, religious conflict, outright hostility towards himself as a putative Catholic, and his own attraction to the daughter of the Rector: an attraction he must resist as, reliant on patronage as he is, he cannot offer a respectable woman a secure future. Meanwhile he also wants to check if a certain book, lost centuries before, has been brought to Oxford as he believes it would enable him to mentally contact the Godhead and find out the secrets of the universe - this is the 16th century after all.

There is quite a bit of action in the story: Bruno can handle himself in a fight and even kill in self-defence when necessary - something he has had to do since fleeing the Inquisition. He comes in for a fair bit of physical abuse in the course of the story, although the fact that there are further volumes takes away some of the suspense when his life is threatened.

Overall I found it an interesting read and was kept guessing by the murder mystery although I did guess one part of it that one character had cause to take revenge on another . One problem I had was that in a few places I was slightly thrown out of the 16th century immersion by the use of a modern turn of phrase. I can't recall now what these were and I know the author is trying for a more readable prose narrative and dialogue than would be the case if it were really phrased in Elizabethan English, but these were such modern expressions that they did jar. By contrast, the Shadlake series by C J Sansom, which is the nearest thing I have come to this, does not do this. I'm not also totally convinced about the character being the real historical ex-monk/philosopher - there isn't really enough 'meat' to make that believable for me (plus in view of the real life fate of the historical figure, it would make reading it too sad to equate the two). So I can't quite award the story full marks and instead rate it a solid 4 star read. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
A finales del siglo XVI, la ciudad universitaria de Oxford es un hervidero de secretos, enigmas y conspiraciones. En un ambiente claustrofóbico y con un trasfondo de luchas religiosas entre protestantes y católicos, el célebre filósofo y científico, Giordano Bruno, inicia la búsqueda de un peligroso libro prohibido, al tiempo que se ve inmerso en la investigación de una serie de crímenes atroces.
  Natt90 | Feb 16, 2023 |
This is the first in the Giordano Bruno series, and my second reading of this novel.

This novel promised so much more than it delivered. Using Giordano Bruno (an Italian Dominican Friar 1548 – 1600) as the main protagonist was a stroke of inspiration that the Author did not pursue to its full potential, and the title led me to believe that I would be reading a fictional take on the road that led to this man being burnt at the stake for heresy in 1600. Given all the information that is to be found on this extraordinary man, who was living before his time, the Authors character development of him was not only weak but insulting to the Friar himself; a complete opposite to the treatment given to Bruno in “Aegypt” by John Crowley. Instead of utilising the traits of Bruno’s character and weaving them into her novel, the Author tends to dismiss them offhand which placed him in the “too much of the good guy” mould and made him appear a nice man which, given the ideas he had and the times he lived in, he probably wasn’t; but in this I am just speculating. The one thing that the reader may get from the painting of the protagonist in this way is an urge to find out more about the real life happenings of Bruno. Other characters in the novel are treated with the same offhand approach, and none of them were developed to the point where the reader could truly feel compassion for their situation or connect with them in any way. With this said, I will acknowledge that the Author chose her protagonist well, as there is a wealth of information out there for them to be able to develop Bruno in a more believable way, and possibly turn this series into something remarkable.

The book is actually a murder mystery and, in this area the Author did an outstanding job of using this vehicle to get to the religious subtext, and bring it to the forefront. In their descriptions of the horrific murders and torture that are committed in the name of religion throughout this book, the Author reminds us that atrocities have been, and continue to be perpetrated in the name of religion; that modern day conflicts centred around faith, are no less ruthless or determined about cementing the survival of their beliefs than those involved in The Inquisition. The location descriptions actually pull the reader in to the novel more than the characters, and they are made to feel as if they are walking through unsanitary streets and palace grounds and, in some parts of the novel actually fearing for their lives because of their beliefs.

I read this novel twice in the belief, as is sometimes the case when I re-read something, I would pick up on the hidden key that would open it up and reveal all its hidden gems, but this was not to be the case unfortunately. The lack of fleshing out the characters and giving me a protagonist that evoked emotion in me was still there and I had not missed anything in my first read through; this decided my review rating. Personally, I did not think this favourably compared with the two novels mentioned in the synopsis, “the Dante Club by Matthew Pearl or “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr; both novels I found to be infinitely more superior.

However, despite all this, I would recommend this novel to those lovers of the historical fiction genre and especially those who like their history with a slight religious bent.

Originally reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/review-heresy-giordano-bruno-1-s...




This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
( )
  Melline | Aug 13, 2022 |
Visa 1-5 av 107 (nästa | visa alla)
"On the whole, though, Heresy is fascinatingly sincere, with no higher aim than to be as good an example of its type as it can."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraThe Guardian, John O'Connell (Mar 12, 2010)
 
"Parris, an economical writer, keeps the mysticism in check as she portrays Bruno, with his sly, agile intelligence, encountering the dark, introverted world of Oxford, where fear and suspicion prevail."
 
"Spirited storytelling, an appealing sleuth and a cool, mutilated villain will lead readers to hope this is the launch of a series."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraKirkus Reviews (Dec 15, 2009)
 
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Fiction. Mystery. Thriller. Historical Fiction. HTML: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.

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