It is the year of the Great Conjunction, when the two most powerful planets, Jupiter and Saturn, align—an astrological phenomenon that occurs once every thousand years and heralds the death of one age and the dawn of another. The streets of London are abuzz with predictions of horrific events to come, possibly even the death of Queen Elizabeth.
When several of the queen’s maids of honor are found dead, rumors of black magic abound. Elizabeth calls upon her personal astrologer, John Dee, and Giordano Bruno to solve the crimes. While Dee turns to a mysterious medium claiming knowledge of the murders, Bruno fears that something far more sinister is at work. But even as the climate of fear at the palace intensifies, the queen refuses to believe that the killer could be someone within her own court.
Bruno must play a dangerous game: can he allow the plot to progress far enough to give the queen the proof she needs without putting her, England, or his own life in danger?
In this utterly gripping and gorgeously written novel, S. J. Parris has proven herself the new master of the historical thriller.
About the Author
S. J. PARRIS is the author of Heresy and a contributing journalist for various publications, including the Observer and the Guardian.
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (May 3, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385531303
- ISBN-13: 978-0385531306
This is a beautifully written, historical fiction thriller that takes place during the rule of Queen Elizabeth and in her court. If you are a fan of this era and know a bit about the whispers of occult and astrology that occurred during her reign, you are really going to enjoy this story of conspiracy and mystery. This is probably one of my favorite time periods to read about since it truly was an age of discovery and that these ideas were often described as heresy and treason. Yet, in the world of the ruling class, they were quietly relied upon. When there is a murder of the queen’s ladies, Elizabeth calls in her astrologer and a former monk named Bruno to help solve the murders. Bruno first appears as an investigator and spy for the French King Henri in Parris’ first book, Heresy. The story also touches upon the rivalry and conspiracy of Queens Mary and Elizabeth.
The second half of the book really moves the plot forward and will have you guessing about who is behind the murderous plot and the loyalty of Queen Elizabeth to her trusted companions which may prove to not be in her best interest. I think my favorite part of the whole story is the word play and dialogue of Bruno which is so much fun to read. There is at times an overwhelming amount of historical detail which I find fascinating, but might bog down other readers. The ending caught me completely by surprise and I will now have to go back and read Heresy since I enjoyed this one so much.
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