Thursday, March 22, 2012


As much as I have been trying to add a bit of variety to my book selection, I find it very difficult to look past the mystery genre.  It seems as if a new one is published every day, jumping up and down for my attention.  I try to turn my head away, but the recent batch is hard to ignore.  So, here was my dilemma: Should I read a gritty, contemporary mystery?  Or select one set in the past? And if the past, what period?  Victorian England?  Ancient Rome?  The Renaissance? There are so many...

This time,  I chose wisely.  I devoted my time to 'Sacrilege', by S.J. Parris, a fantastic mystery set in the reign of Elizabeth I.  And I can almost guarantee you won't put it down.

In London during the Summer of 1584, philosopher, ex-monk, and spy, Giordano Bruno, suspects that he is being followed.  When he discovers that his pursuer is Sophia, a woman with whom he was once in love, she tells him that she has been accused of the murder of her husband and pleads with Bruno to help her find the real murderer.  Together, they journey to Canterbury, where Bruno uncovers various plots, including one to restore the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket.  Murders abound, Bruno is accused, and intrigue is ripe.  But as he is trying to uncover a deadly conspiracy, Bruno's feelings for Sophia grow more intense and perplexing.

Although the story seems complicated and the characters many, Parris has a knack for bringing her atmospheric novel to life.  I could not keep from turning pages and reading well into the night; the crypt scenes were genuinely creepy.  I have enjoyed the previous Bruno novels ('Heresy' and 'Prophecy'), and I'm glad that he's back.

And, I suspect, he will return in the not-so-distant future.  Read 'Sacrilege'; trust me on this one.

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