Customer Review

174 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Blockbuster" book...?, 11 Mar 2010
This review is from: Heresy (Hardcover)
The press notes that accompanied this book claims that it will be a "blockbuster". I think that's wishful thinking on the part of the publisher, but that's okay. True "blockbuster" books are accessible to all readers, like "The DaVinci Code" and "Love Story". They tend to "read" like the movie scripts they often become.

No, I don't think "Heresy" will become a mega-bestseller. It is much too deeply plotted and written to appeal to the average reader. I'm not saying this in a snobbish way; I just think the reader of "Heresy" must have a fairly good background in Tudor/Church history in order to understand it and enjoy it.

"Heresy" is set in Oxford in the mid-1580's, with a prologue set about ten years earlier in Naples. The main character, Giordano Bruno, a "monk, scientist, philosopher, and magician", begins questioning the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church a little too deeply - particularly in regard to Copernicus's beliefs about the earth revolving around the sun, rather than vise-versa - and departs his monastery one step before the Inquisition. He works his way to England as a "traveling scholar" and finds himself in Oxford, hired by the English government to help expose Catholics still worshiping in secret. Even though Elizabeth has been on the throne for thirty years or so and the English church is well established, her government is afraid of Catholic elements championing her cousin, Catholic Mary, Queen of Scotland, as the REAL ruler of England.

Bruno comes to Oxford, to Lincoln College (a real Oxford college) with a larger group. Soon scholars at Lincoln begin to be killed in rather disgusting ways and Bruno steps up to help find the murderer. Add in the various personalities always present "in college", as well as the various religious factions, and it turns out that very few people are who they say they are or the religions they profess to practice.

It all adds up to a very interesting story, with a little love interest for Bruno. It's worth reading by those who will appreciate it.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Dec 2010 14:14:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Dec 2010 14:15:12 GMT
You mention that Lincoln College in Oxford is real, but are possibly unaware that so was Giordano Bruno. Later he returned to the Continent and eventually (on 17 February 1600) he was burned at the stake on the Campo dei Fiori by the secular authorities for the city of Rome, on orders from Pope Clement VIII, although these appear to have remained unaware of his earlier activities in England, since the charges levelled against him were entirely separate. If you find the meeting points of historical reality and historical fruth or conjecture interesting (understandably, Bruno's life remains pretty shadowy), I can strongly recommend John Bossy's excellent book, 'Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair' (Vintage, 1991; ISBN 0 09 914381 X).

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Dec 2010 14:28:17 GMT
Jill Meyer says:
Thanks! I just ordered it from AmazonUSA - where I live - because the book is still in print in the States. I'm looking forward to reading it next week. There are a couple of other books about Bruno - I really had no idea he was a real historical figure - but Bossy's book seems to be the highest rated.

Posted on 26 Jan 2012 20:55:28 GMT
Jill Wallis says:
I really enjoyed this book- interesting and totally gripping.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2012 16:11:26 GMT
Eileen Shaw says:
So pleased to come across this information. I've been looking for a definitive book on the real Giordano Bruno for ages. Thanks Sandro, and thanks to Jill for hosting the information.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2012 21:38:04 GMT
Jill Meyer says:
Eileen, he's a good writer and I think you'll enjoy the book. First rate historical fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2013 09:08:39 GMT
S J Parris is a woman!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Dec 2013 14:37:12 GMT
Jill Meyer says:
Thanks for the note, Adictive, and for letting me know Ms Parris is a woman. I think I sort of found that out a few months ago and was a bit shocked, though I don't know why I was shocked

Hope you enjoyed the book.
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Jill Meyer
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