My New Year’s resolution of reading at least one book a month is still on track. I was about to write about the last one when I found these two lurking in my drafts folder waiting to be finished.
Prophecy by S.J. Parris
I didn’t realise until I’d started this book that it’s actually the second in the series about the Elizabethan spy Giordano Bruno, but it made no difference to my enjoyment. I was drawn in by the fast paced, intricate plot involving murders, conspiracies and political intrigue. There were a couple of low points when Bruno escaped from dangerous situations with the help of hitherto unmentioned characters who turned up in the nick of time – annoying but not enough to spoil a good read.
Bruno an exiled ex-monk, philosopher, scientist, and spy dabbles in magic while trying to earn a living in a world of religious bigotry. Parris’s imagination brings dimly remembered classroom history to life.
I enjoyed the small historical details, from descriptions of city streets to menus, “capons stuffed with fruit; venison; coneys in fragrant sauces, piled with thyme and rosemary; calves’ foot jellies and pies of larks and blackbirds with delicate latticed pastry”, which combined to evoke the atmosphere of the Elizabethan world.
Whispers Underground by Ben Arronovitch
The third book in this highly enjoyable series centres around London’s Underground. The book starts with the apparently ‘ordinary’ murder of a US senator’s son but when magical overtones are detected DC Peter Grant and DCI Thomas Nightingale are called in. Further investigation leads them to a secret underground world underneath London.
The main characters are becoming more rounded, DC Lesley May comes back after her injuries and the back stories of the returning minor characters are developing. The plot is fast paced, witty, funny and interspersed with modern police procedure and historical details about London and the Underground, I didn’t want to put it down. I loved it. I’ve already ordered the next book in the series, due out in July.
Sacrilege by S.J.Parris
And I’ve just finished reading this third book in the Giordano Bruno series. This book takes likeable Bruno to Canterbury to try to impress a lady by clearing her name of a murder charge. This is not as easy as he expects and he becomes embroiled in Canterbury’s local religious politics of the time. Again the book is full of historical detail and the pacey, intricate plot is full of scheming, mystery and betrayal – no strangers turning up to get Bruno out of trouble this time. A great twist at the end and hook for the next book, which doesn’t seem to out until June. Again I really enjoyed it.