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Sacrilege (Giordano Bruno #3)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  2,173 Ratings  ·  262 Reviews
A gripping historical thriller set in sixteenth-century England and centered on the highly secretive cult of Saint Thomas Becket, the twelfth-century archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

London, summer of 1584: Radical philosopher, ex-monk, and spy Giordano Bruno suspects he is being followed by an old enemy. He is shocked to discover that his pursuer is in fact S
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2012)
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Apr 24, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: LibraryThing Early Reviewer program.

This is apparently the third book in a series, so once again I have the interesting experience of being dropped into an already established situation and trying to catch up. It wasn't too hard; Parris deftly sketches in the portrait of Bruno, the ex-monk, ex-spy, ex-fugitive, philosopher, diplomat and writer. In this book he's under the spell of the beautiful Sophia, who begs him to go to Canterbury to solve the mystery of her late husban
3.5 stars

It's 1584 and antagonism rages between Protestant England and Catholic countries of Europe. Many people, even in England, would like nothing better than to to depose (or kill) Queen Elizabeth and install a Catholic monarch on the English throne. Thus the Queen's adviser, Sir Francis Walshingham, has an extensive network of spies working to sniff out Catholic sympathizers. One of the spies is the Italian ex-monk Giordano Bruno, currently living in the French Embassy in London.

As the s
Jul 29, 2012 Danuta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tudor dynasty of late medieval England is popular with novelists across the range: from the ‘literary’ end of the market - Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall; to popular romance: Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl; to children’s novels: Julia Jarman’s The Time Travelling Cat and the Tudor Treasure. The Tudor period was marked by conflict, religious turmoil and brutal and bloody regimes. It therefore offers great scope for writers of crime fiction, as the success of S J Sansom and Rory Clements ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has so many flaws that it’s hard to know where to start. The major flaw is the author doesn’t seem to know what topic to use as the major conflict, and the book wanders hither and yon without a clear focus. One possible theme is Bruno’s love interest; another is the imminent possibility of an invasion of England; another is a fictional cult of Thomas a Becket which plans to restore Catholicism to England; another is the possibility of a plot to assassinate Elizabeth and elevate Mary to ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Annet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I realize I've been reading a lot of historic fiction last year. Here's the first one in 2015. I enjoy the Bruno Giordano series of S.J. Parris, but with this one, the storyline had highs and lows. Not consistently strong and the love interest part annoyed me really. I started reading Lamentation by C.J. Sansom next to this book, and I really thought that story was much stronger, and kept my interest more than this. However, I loved the ending scenes of this book, which made up a lot, the turbul ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The appeal of this novel for me is the Canterbury setting in the late 16th century; the descriptions of the cobbled lanes and overhanging casements transport the modern-day city back to its medieval self without too much effort of the imagination!
The strands of the plot are a little repetitive in the first third of the book; Giordano Bruno's role of saviour to Sophia is underlined in metaphorical bold font again and again....and the twist is, of course, that he is ultimately double
Mar 27, 2013 Christie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Sacrilege! If you try it, you'll like it too! Sacrilege is fun for the whole family.

Okay, I'm done now. But seriously folks, it is an excellent read. S.J. Parris is the pen name for Stephanie Merritt, a British journalist and author of two previous novels in the series, Heresy and Prophecy.

I had the opportunity to talk with her when she was visiting Toronto recently, and she spoke about writing when your child is on vacation (tricky), researching the Elizabethan era (fascinating), and how
Frank Hintz
Apr 26, 2012 Frank Hintz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third book in the historical fiction/mystery/thriller series featuring Giordano Bruno by S.J. Parris. Each book is a stand alone story, but there are a few significant references to the events to the events in the previous two books. In particular, one of the major characters in this story is a returning character from the first book. Further, the first book really introduces Bruno, presenting some key elements to his background. So, it does help to have read them all. Its been a while since ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
S. J. Parris has managed once again to create a historical mystery that is just as compelling and captivating as Heresy and Prophecy. In Sacrilege, we once again see Giordano Bruno, a renegade monk in the year 1584. He has a way of putting himself in harms way due to both his philosophy,and his radical books and is therefore not surprised to find himself being followed. He believes that surely it is someone meant to kill or harm him, but it turns out to be Sophia Underhill. She has come all the ...more
John Lee
Aug 14, 2012 John Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seeing this book on the library shelf recently, I grabbed it. I was sure that I was awaiting this further episode into Elizabethan England with Doctor Bruno. I have now looked back through my logs and see that I have indeed read Heresy but not Prophecy. A shame as I like to try to read books in the order in which they are written. Perhaps this explains why I couldnt remember the detail of several references back to previous encounters in Sacrilege.
I still enjoyed the read but the more I read abo
Aug 03, 2013 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading the third, and most current, book in this series, Sacrilege. Radical philosopher, ex-monk and spy, Giordano Bruno, continues in the service of Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster, Lord Wasingham. This is the most entertaining and thrilling book yet in the series.

In this novel Bruno journeys to Canterbury to help an old flame who is on the run after being accused of murdering her much older husband, a prominent magistrate in Canterbury. But while investigating, he uncovers a serie
Apr 06, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giordano Bruno is what is commonly called today, a Renaissance Man. He is a former Monk, a bit of a renegade and is on his way to Canterbury to investigate a murder that is somehow attached to the legendary Thomas a Becket, former Archbishop of Canterbury who fought over the Church’s rights with Henry II of England. Thomas was also treated with much respect by Catholics and Anglicans alike. Giordano, among his many talents is a spy for England, the country that is now counting on him for another ...more
Janice  Durante
S.J. Parris's third novel in her historical mystery series delineates a fascinating and memorable protagonist. The year is 1584, and Giordano Bruno, an Italian former monk and "heretic," ostensibly serves the French ambassador, but is actually an agent of Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. An old flame, Sophia Underhill, tracks him down in London and begs him to clear her name, as she is accused of killing her husband, a powerful magistrate in Canterbury.

With Sophia disguised
Apr 18, 2015 Johanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good addition to the series. This time Bruno is in Canterbury where nefarious deeds are afoot involving Thomas a Becket's bones, Catholic plotters and murderous officials. The books are well plotted, have good characterisation, and are well written both grammatically and structurally; a treat that is increasingly rare with so many YA and self-published horrors lurking in the Amazon undergrowth. A worthy addition to the canon of historical detective / mystery fiction.
Dec 29, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in the series about Giordano Bruno by Tessa Harris that I've accessed electronically from the library. She has written more, and I will read the print version of these books because I like her well-researched, suspenseful stories set in England in the sixteenth century. Giordano Bruno is a former monk who escaped the inquisition in his native Italy because of his radical writings. He now serves as a spy for the court of Queen Elizabeth. In this story, Bruno is surprised to lear ...more
Julie Witt
I was asked to read this by the publisher who knew that I hadn't read the first two books in the series, Heresy and Prophecy, as it can be read as a standalone. I loved this book SO much, though, that I'm going to get my hands on a copy of the first two books as soon as possible so I can devour them the way I devoured Sacrilege! I LOVED it! I do enjoy historical fiction, but this went beyond your regular historical fiction - it had one heck of a mystery in it, too!

For my full review, please see
May 30, 2016 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this book and I will continue with the series; however, I think it lost a bit of pace in the middle, which is why I gave it 3 stars and not 4.
Frank Ryan
Oct 03, 2016 Frank Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the increasingly renowned Elizabethan detective series, involving the ex-monk, Bruno, now a heretic and proponent of a new enlightenment. As a fellow thriller writer, I would hail it as a brilliant encapsulation of the times and the tensions between the nascent Protestant Church of England and the long established European Catholicism – a dichotomy that divided Europe and gave rise to endless tensions and wars. I gather that the author has a special interest in the hist ...more
Maggie Kiely
Dec 11, 2015 Maggie Kiely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book 3 in the Giordano Bruno series and it is much better than books One and Two which sees Bruno getting far too engrossed in Philosophy to the exclusion of the story. As such the first two instalments were so far inferior to the high standard of CJ Sansom whose Shardlake books are set in similar times. I quite enjoy historic fiction and enjoy the way the stories are set in Elizabethan England. The reader is then part of the ‘life’ of individuals during that fascinating time. I found bo ...more
Deborah Pickstone
I was so charmed by the first in this series - and had tht eager anticipation that goes with a certainty of more enjoyable books to come (how I love a good series!). Sadly, it wasn't bourne out in this case.

I started getting restive in book 2 as the plot became - more improbable. The characterisation was not developing and the female roles were all nasty (or dead!). By book 3 my unrest with ludicrous plotting caused me to give up almost at the end of the book. And I thought that if S.J. Parris r
Lissa Notreallywolf
This one picks up with Bruno's departure from London to Canterbury, lead by his affection for the girl he saved from a renegade Catholic priest in the first. Life has treated her badly, partially because she is impetuous and curious. Bruno's compassion for her is largely because as a scholar he enjoys a woman who can keep up with his mind. The fact she's so beautiful she can't successfully pass as a boy is a time honored convention in fiction. And they tread a romantic path that reverts to compa ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Meljorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First things first,I'm really annoyed with Sophia but admired her still. Aside from having tits she's good to use her brains to fool Bruno(which i didn't see coming).
*sigh.. I do sympathize with him after being fooled by a woman he thought he was in love with.

Moving on, the story was all about conspiracy stumbled upon in Canterbury by accident due to his undying love for Sophie who was accused for murder of her husband. Yep, he volunteered to help her. Meanwhile being the hero, he didn't reali
Aug 20, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
The third mystery for ex-monk, philosopher and spy Giordano Bruno to solve opens in 1584 London. Bruno fears he is being followed, an enemy stalking him with sinister deeds in mind - but it turns out that instead, his pursuer is the young woman he fell in love with while investigating a string of murders in Oxford, Sophia Underhill. She is on the run from the law, accused of murdering her husband, a magistrate in Canterbury, and needs Bruno's help to clear her name. He soon finds that there is m ...more
Sep 06, 2014 Sistermagpie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Good mystery set in Elizabethan England. The detective is an Italian ex-monk on the run, pursued by shadowy forces because of his heretical notions. He's spying from his position at the French embassy, but takes time off to clear an old love for murder.

The one thing that occasionally annoyed me about the book is how obviously our hero and the girl he loves are so obviously superior because they think like modern people. The woman got pregnant out of wedlock and was then shocked at the result, in
Katka Chudá
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anthony Fisher
I enjoy the 'Bruno' books. This is the third book in the series that I have read, though I did read them out of order, book 2-1-3. In general the books can be read in this manner, however, there are some links to previous books mentioned, though not sufficient to spoil the stories.
The locations have all been different,however, some of the plot devices used are similar to the earlier books, though not to the extent of spoiling these stories.

As usual, I will confine my review to generalities and
Rachael Hewison
It was only after starting to read this book that I realised it was the third in the series so there was lots of references to events from the previous two books but on the whole it was still easy to follow.

Throughout the book I couldn't help but compare it to Candace Robb's Owen Archer series as they are both medieval murder mysteries. I much preferred Parris' work. The author was able to keep the plot clever whilst easy to follow and she was able to tie all of the strands together nicely at th
Leslie Roper
I have read all 3 of the S.J. Parris mysteries and I love them. I buy each one as they come out in hardback (Heresy, Prophecy and Sacrilege). Read them in one day and one night (stay up until I finish) then proudly line them up on my bookshelf. They look fabulous with their coordinating dust jackets. Then when I am ready to reread them, there they will be. Highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction.
Feb 18, 2014 Carl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The 3rd in this series of historical mysteries starring Giordano Bruno, excommunicated Dominican, closet free-thinker, and erstwhile agent for Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster while serving on the staff of the French ambassador. I enjoyed the previous two, as there was so much political/religious intrigue going on during 16th century England that the author used as key elements in the plots (IIRC).

Here, however, the intrigue seems a little less central, as we follow love-lorn Bruno on a personal ques
Oct 04, 2015 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-historical
c2012: FWFTB: Canterbury, unrequited, archbishop, shrine, 1584. The audiobook version of the previous book annoyed the dickens out of me with the pseudo Italian/Spanish accent. It distracted me so much that I lost all interest in the plot. I read this one in the paper version and it was so much better. Evocative, pacy, clever and emotional without being cheesy. I do not agree with The Washington Post's description of the protagonist being 'sly' which I associate with the negative devious and dec ...more
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S.J. Parris began reviewing books for national newspapers while she was reading English literature at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduating, she went on to become Deputy Literary Editor of The Observer in 1999. She continues to work as a feature writer and critic for the Guardian and the Observer and from 2007-2008 she curated and produced the Talks and Debates program on issues in contempo ...more
More about S.J. Parris...

Other Books in the Series

Giordano Bruno (5 books)
  • Heresy (Giordano Bruno, #1)
  • Prophecy (Giordano Bruno, #2)
  • Treachery (Giordano Bruno #4)
  • Conspiracy (Giordano Bruno  #5)

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