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Inquisition Paperback – 29 Sep 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; 2011 edition (29 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751545392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751545395
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 652,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A masterful thriller for fans of CJ Sansom and SJ Parris.

About the Author

Alfredo Colitto is the author of six novels. He lives in Bologna.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I had high hopes for this, thought it would be really good, having read a lot of CJ Sansom and the reviews said if you liked CJ, you would like this. It is translated, which makes some of it a bit stilted. Plot line is good. Did not have the real-world grip that Sansom has. I just did not feel like I was immersed in this world, and the main characters lacked development for me. Overall it was okay, but nowhere near the calibre of the Sansom novels.
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The Inquisition is an intriguing proposition for fans of historical murder-mystery fiction, written by an Italian author, set during the early Renaissance with the university city of Bologna at the centre, where the whole nasty business of a gruesome killing is mixed up in the affairs of the Knights Templar, the Inquisition and the eternal quest for the secret of alchemy. While the murder-mystery aspect of Inquisition turns out to be fairly conventional however, the period, the setting and the characterisation make the novel much more interesting.

The premise is relatively straightforward - three Knights Templar scattered throughout Europe, in Naples, Cyprus and Toledo, have been sent a letter that piques their interest, the promise of the secret of alchemical transformation waiting for them in Bologna accompanied by a finger that has been turned into iron, but the letter hints at another dark practices. When a victim subsequently turns up in Bologna, his body mutilated, his heart transformed into a solid block of iron, Mondino de Liuzzi, a physician and lecturer at the Bologna School of Medicine becomes involved helping out a young Knight Templar who is in danger of being accused of the crime, a clearly satanic act that is likely to be judged very harshly by the church and its chief Inquisitor in the city, Uberto da Rimini.

The Inquisitor has other reasons for wanting the young Knight Templar convicted of the murder, and it's very much to do with the order falling into disrepute, with its heretical views that threaten the authority of the church during a period when its power is being challenged.
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A physician autopsies the body of a Templar knight and finds that the man's heart has been turned to iron. And then all hell breaks loose -- it's the time of the Inquisition, and the only thing worse than being a Templar is being a scientist.

This is glorious stuff. I like CJ Sansom and have been looking for another historical fiction writer to read in between Shardlakes, and although I haven't much liked SJ Parris or James Forrester, Inquisition absolutely did it for me. It's smart but fun, full of interesting details about the Inquisition and the science of anatomy, and it's a cracking murder mystery to boot. I read online that the author has written two more books with these characters, and I want to read both.
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'A brilliant thriller to rival CJ Sansom' says the blurb on the jacket. Well it's not brilliant, it's not very thrilling and I don't think CJ Sansom has any need to worry about this rivalling him. Having said all that, 'Inquisition' is an entertaining, quick read that is enjoyable and a little bit different.

Set in Bologna in the 14th Century and base around themes of alchemy and science, Colitto has linked different concerns adeptly. The central character Mondino is a physician who is determined to progress scientific knowledge, even if that brings him into conflict with the Catholic Church and the Inquisition in particular. The trial of the Templar knights sits in the background whilst the central narrative is about the gruesome deaths of two templars.

It's not a hard read, it's not highbrow but it is good fun.
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I really really really enjoyed this book - I'm always a little bit wary of books translated into English - sometimes they just don't seem to flow as I imagine they would in their native language. But this book, and its translation, really flowed beautifully. The language was perfect.

But even beyond that, the story itself was absolutely brilliant. What a great concept - the mysterious death of a man who appears to have been a Templar, at the time when being a Knight Templar was in itself a dangerous occupation. The novel is set in Bologna, already a city in a region torn by long-standing Ghibelline and Guelph allegiances. More than that, the Church under Pope Clement V and King Philip IV of France are setting up actions against the Templars, and attempting to make those stick across the whole of Europe. The Inquisition in Bologna is keen to do their duty by the Church, particularly under the auspices of the really nasty Uberto. So when Mondino, an anatomist who really just wants to be left alone to work on his medical theories (also a touchy point with the Church at this time), finds himself caught up in conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries which also seem to involve occult powers, it really becomes a race against so many factors to work out what's going on and why.

The characters are really well-developed in this book - they all stand out from the page, and are well characterised. The story races along - I found myself turning the last 50 pages at the rate of knots, absolutely frantic to find out what was going to happen next. The setting is very evocatively drawn for the reader - medieval Bologna, the Church, the life led by the people in these places at these times - it all rang true, and worked really well - there was nothing that jarred my historical senses at all.
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