By S. J. Parris
The US cover and alos the UK cover -
From the publisher:
Autumn, 1583: Queen Elizabeth’s rule is under threat. Plans for an invasion to put Mary Stuart on the throne of England are secretly being laid. And an astrological phenomenon believed to herald the death of one age and the dawn of another has led to frenzied speculation of terrible events to come. Giordano Bruno, the maverick and charismatic agent of Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to the queen, has infiltrated the plotters at the French embassy. His mission is to secure the evidence that will allow the execution of Mary Stuart and her cohorts for treason. But his position there is tenuous – while the ambassador trusts him, his beautiful and cunning wife Marie seems determined to prise out his secrets. Meanwhile, the murder of a maid of honour within the palace walls involves Bruno in deeper mysteries. Occult symbols carved into her young flesh point to black magic, but the truth could be even more sinister…
If you're a fan of Parris' Heresy with Doctor Giordano Bruno in the lead, then I don't think you're going to be disappointed one little bit. It's 1583 and the "Great Conjunction" of the two most powerful planets aligning is about to take place and as if that wasn't enough to rattle the people of England, the Catholics and the Protestants are at war over the throne of England.
It's into that world of upheaval that Parris places Bruno this second time. I think Parris writes a fine and well researched historical mystery. While a maid is found murdered, I thought is was more the story of Elizabeth and her cousin Mary Stuart, as each of them claimed to be the heir to the Tudor throne. History tells us the fates of these women and their courtiers, but Parris tells a remarkable, enjoyable and very readable story.
My only concern or gripe, if you will, is that I found the third act a bit slow. I found myself skimming ahead to get to the ending. In retrospect, I'm not sure if it was because I wanted to see how Parris wrapped up Prophecy or if I thought the book to be a bit long. Maybe a little of both.
BUT since these are pretty much my only issues, then this is good mystery, a good story and a good piece of historical fiction. I do recommend S.J. Parris' Prophecy, and hope you enjoy it too!
I give Prophecy 3 stars out of 5.
This ARC was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.
Cover art - Doubleday Publishing