Customer Review

46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Name's Bruno..., 9 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Prophecy (Hardcover)
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Having read and enjoyed Giordano Bruno's first outing in Heresy, I was looking forward to reading about the disgraced monk's next case. 'Heresy', a run-of-the-mill historical crime novel, was set apart from other books in this burgeoning genre by good quality writing, and a thoughtful analysis of religious intolerance. In 'Prophecy', both are present again, but the book is badly let down by lacklustre crime solving.

'Prophecy' centres on the brutal murder of one of Elizabeth I's ladies-in-waiting. The political atmosphere is once again tense, and Catholic agitators are decrying the 'Bastard Queen'. With murder plots being hatched in every corner, Bruno and his boss Lord Walsingham, have to pinpoint the true nature of the threat. The murder even has an occult dimension, with aspects of the death corresponding to a prophecy that predicts the demise of the monarch. Increasingly isolated within the French Embassy, Bruno must work out which, if any, of the embassy staff are involved in a plot to replace Elizabeth with the Catholic Mary Stuart.

Though slow at first, the plot of Prophecy is solid. Based in some interesting history, the novel feels authentic and well-researched. Once again, Parris has been able to use history to mirror current affairs. In this case the torture of 'terrorists'. Walsingham believes that torture of the occasional innocent victim, is a price worth paying to keep his nation safe. Bruno disagrees entirely. The portrayal of religious intolerance and antagonism is once again very well done.

The problem for me is that Bruno, likeable though he is, is almost entirely useless. Instead of solving any of the crimes, he blunders about, jumping to the wrong conclusions. He only gets the bottom of things, because when the criminals capture him, instead of killing him immediately, they take the trouble to explain their plot to him. Like James Bond, Bruno then proceeds to escape in an implausible manner, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

This would be bad enough if it happened once, but twice is unforgivable. To compound matters, A third party, who is otherwise barely in the novel, turns up unprompted, just to give Bruno the answer he needs. Similarly, Bruno's life is saved a number of times, by a shadowy figure; again a third party, that plays almost no part in the rest of the novel. My final moan is that whenever Bruno is out and about on the streets of London, he keeps 'feeling a pair of eyes' on him, or 'catching a shadow in the corner of his eye.' This quickly becomes tiresome, doing little to maintain tension.

With its slow pace at the beginning, and weak plotting, 'Prophecy' fails to build on the excellent foundations laid with 'Heresy'. An opportunity missed.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jan 2012 21:09:58 GMT
Jill Wallis says:
I think this is most unfair- it almost put me off reading the book. I think the escapes were plausible. I agree about the the eyes on him which was anoying and I hated it being written in the present tense!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2012 21:50:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Jan 2012 11:39:53 GMT
Quicksilver says:
Thanks for taking the time to post your critique of my critique! Obviously, I can't agree with your not agreeing with me, but there is nothing more irritating to a reviewer than an 'unhelpful' vote without any explanation of why!
Happy Reading
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