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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 26 April 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is Stephanie Merritt's third Giordano Bruno book - writing under the pseudonym of S. J. Parris and another excellent book it is too.

Parris/Merritt writes with pace and interest all the way through her books and she is a great addition to the late Tudor genre that has recently spawned the excellent C. J. Sansom and Rory Clements. We are therefore privaleged to be living in a time where such excellent authors are producing such well-researched offerings.

"Sacrilege" starts off a year after Prophecy ends with Bruno having finally finished his book on celestial matters and takes it to the publisher. He meets a girl for whom he has a soft-spot and decides to travel to Canterbury for two-fold reasons - in order to try to clear her name in the death of an important local citizen and to weedle out any Catholic plots that lurk within the cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral.

He really has just one friend in Canterbury - and that is an old Cathedral cleric. the rest of the township all appear to be against him and his foreign ways. So his job is not easy at all.

I won't spoil it for you by saying what happens and whether he is successful in any of his missions suffice to say that the book he has pursued in Parris's other volumes rears its head again.

A really good read which I thoroughly enjoyed but the end just left me a tiny bit deflated (you will see why). Which is why I gave it four stars.
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on 17 March 2014
I have been reading 'historic' murders for some time now and although I found this less factual than Shardlake and certainly Hilary Mantell, it is what it is and doesnt attempt to link into actual historic events. Bruno is the main charactor and often find himself drawn into investigations and sub plots without trying. The storys are well written and often give enough clues for you to nearly figure it out. It is not too obvious nor too subtle.

I am really enjoying reading these, even though I feel I am killing time waiting for Shardlake again.

I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys murder mysterys, it is well written, keeps a good pace and is very enjoyable.
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on 15 February 2015
I have read a previous book in the series and found it OK but this book I found annoying. In essence I could not accept as plausible a large number of the decisons of the 'hero'. I virtually never give up on reading a book and did manage to finish this but it was very hard going. As each (to me) unlikely decision was made, my enjoyment reduced and annoyance increased. I wish I could give it more stars but I can't.
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on 26 February 2014
I've loved these books since the first one came out and so far, as soon as I finish one, I'm champing at the bit for the next one. This time though, the plot seemed rather contrived and Bruno wasn't shown off to his best. I think the author was determined to bring Bruno and Sophia together again and the plot was shoehorned to fit, particularly as it was so obvious that she will turn up again like the proverbial bad penny. The supporting characters in Canterbury were a bit boring and predictable. The book was rescued by the author's usual attention to period detail and colour. I will still read the next Bruno instalment when it's published but I hope Sophia will left out of things for a very long time to come.
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on 28 October 2012
If you enjoy C.L.Sansom,s historical novels this collection of three which run into each other are definately worth a try. The character of the detective/ex monk is based on a real historical character as are a number of others in the books.There is a good deal of detailed background, especially that of place-Oxford and Canterbury are particularly interesting. The time is at the court of the aging Elizabeth, with plots and uprisings, particularly religious ones. An enjoyable read- not quite so detailed as Sansom but still well worth buying and reading.
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on 6 March 2016
Giordano Bruno is drawn to Canterbury by an old flame who would like him to show that her stepson has killed her husband, a crime for which she is under suspicion herself. He persuades his employers to let him go on the basis that he could learn something to their advantage - and he does uncover an unlikely but ingenious plot that could threaten the realm as well as solving the murder. But his love life continues not to run altogether as he would wish.

I felt I learnt something about Tudor Canterbury and the way of life at a cathedral, and the plotting is certainly ingenious in this novel. The human interest of the love story struck me as a little less convincing - it's probably not really of its time, I thought, and I did also find the interior monologue of Giordano Bruno (who seems mostly to ask himself questions, not ruminate on answers and who takes up interesting pieces of evidence, he knows not why) a little irritating at times...
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on 9 September 2012
I really enjoyed Bruno's latest outing in this book. I was a bit sniffy about the whole series at first, having had to wean myself off the excellent Shardlake series by Sansom, but I really love these tales of intrigue and murder in Elizabethan England now. I think they are getting better all the time and this one had some great twists and turns in the plot to keep me guessing all the way through. Parris conveys a brilliant sense of place in the closed, malevolent world of Canterbury and Bruno is developing as a character all the time. To say any more would spoil the plot!

As well as working as a good murder mystery in its own right the book has really sparked my interest in Elizabethan history and the role of Walsingham and his network of spies, so having finished this one I'm about to start reading a non-fiction work called The Watchers that has recently been published.
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on 14 October 2013
With this being the third book in the series the character of Giordano Bruno is established and therefore the plot is less about known historical events and more intimate.

Bruno is reunited with Sophia, the woman he loved and lost in book one. She has been expelled from her family and forced into marriage with an older, abusive husband who is murdered. Sophia is accused of the murder and as a fugitive she asks Bruno for help, smitten as he is he agrees. Upon arriving in Canterbury Bruno is involved in a plot to support a Catholic invasion of England through the cult of St Thomas. The plot is busy and, because it does not rely on documented events, benefits from its portrayal of the common people of Elizabethan England.

Parris has produced an enjoyable and fun novel of no great depth but a pleasure all the same.
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on 9 November 2012
I must say that up to now, I would have classed SJ Parris as a poorer relation to other historical crime writers such as Rory Clements and CJ Sansom with her previous stories getting bogged down in too much philosophical theory.

With her third book, the author has proved me wrong. This is a fantastic thriller full of nasty characters, all of whom have a motive for wrong-doing.

This is a great story, with much going on to keep the reader engrossed. There are plenty of twists and turns, encouraging the reader to keep reading, when they really should be going to bed - the sign of a good novel!

This is a page-turner of the highest order. Well done SJ Parris for your historical crime thriller of the year nomination for this novel -it is well-deserved.

A cracking read.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The third in Parris' Giordano Bruno series, Sacrilege sees Bruno travel to Canterbury to try to clear the name of Sophia, whom we first met in Heresy and who now stands accused of murdering her husband. While there, Bruno is asked by his spymaster Walsingham to look into potential conspiracies against the Queen.

At first, this novel seems to be a traditional murder mystery with an Elizabethan setting but as the book progresses Parris weaves her plot into the political and religious circumstances of the time. Catholic intrigues, the superstitions around the story of St Thomas Becket and the Huguenots living in exile in Canterbury all seem to be involved as more murders follow the first.

While I enjoyed the book overall, I found it a bit slow to start with and I felt that some of the descriptive passages could have been trimmed without loss. At a couple of crucial plot points, Bruno seemed to leap to a conclusion based on little or nothing more than guesswork and that conclusion was then accepted into the plot as if it were proved fact. I found this rather lazy on the part of the author. Unfortunately I also felt the solution to the mystery became quite obvious from about halfway through the book and this led to a lack of suspense.

Although this could be read as a stand-alone novel, it would be helpful to have read the previous ones to fully understand Bruno's back story and his relationship with Sophia. Despite my criticisms, though this, for me, is not as good as her previous novels, I still found it a well-written book with plenty of interest and Bruno is a likeable protagonist. I will be interested to see where Parris goes with the series next.
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