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Monk skilled at solving mysteries

Bruno’s new case more personal

By Lucia Anderson

For The Free Lance-Star

GIORDANO  BRUNO is back solving mysteries and ferreting out plots in Elizabethan England.

Bruno, an Italian monk whose unconventional ideas about the nature of the universe clashed with those of the Inquisition, was featured in two previous novels, “Heresy” and “Prophecy.” Fleeing from the pitiless religious tribunal, Bruno has ended up in England, working for Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham.

In “Sacrilege,” Bruno’s investigations take a more personal turn.  A woman who captivated Bruno’s heart as a girl in “Heresy” turns up in London, asking him to prove she didn’t murder her husband in Canterbury, where they lived.

Walsingham is persuaded to let Bruno go to Canterbury, tasking him while there to look into a possible resurgence of the cult of St. Thomas à Becket with its implications of a Catholic plot against the queen.  Becket, you will remember, was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, and his shrine there was destroyed when Henry VIII turned Protestant.

What Bruno finds when he gets to Canterbury is a tangle of deceit, conspiracy and intrigue that leads to his imprisonment and trial for murder.

“Sacrilege” is more of a straightforward murder investigation than the earlier two books, with far less emphasis on the cosmos and the occult. The politics of Elizabethan England play a part, but it’s the personal relationships that are front and center.  A good read.

Lucia Anderson  is a freelance writer  in Woodbridge.


By S. J. Parris

(Doubleday, $26.95, 432 pp.)


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