My oh my, there are certainly a lot of historical novels about Elizabethan England being published these days. Two major authors have series, Rory Clements' "John Shakespeare" and SJ Parris's "Giordano Bruno". Both authors have new books out, and this review is about "Treachery", the fourth book in the Bruno series.
Giordano Bruno was a real person. He was an Italian monk, who questioned scientific teachings of the Church and was forced to flee for his life. He ended up, eventually, in England, after leaving the priesthood. He went to work for Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's secretary and "spymaster". While working for Walsingham, he befriended Walsingham's son-in-law, Sir Philip Sidney. In "Treachery", the two are sent down to Plymouth and Sir Francis Drake's fleet on a mission for Walsingham. Sir Philip would like to accompany Drake on his next sailing against the Spanish but Bruno wants to stay on terra firma.
As usual when Bruno and Sidney turn up somewhere, so do deaths. Mysterious and brutal and often politically motivated, these murders are solved by Bruno, who is quickly attaining a reputation in Elizabeth's court as a "go-to man" on figuring out intrigue. "Treachery" is a complicated story, though not too complicated to appeal to Parris's many fans of her three previous books in the series. This book is the first in which I've sensed Giordano Bruno has a sense of humor; there's some light-hearted bantering with his friend, Sidney. Parris also gives Giordano a love interest, Lady Arden, the cousin-in-law of Francis Drake. The book is filled with real and imaginary characters and Parris shows a real feel for the politics and scientific advances of the times.
SJ Parris tells a great story in "Treachery". It's well-worth the time spent with her cast of characters in the fairly long book. Also, look for Rory Clements' "John Shakespeare" series.