bookczuk's Reviews > Prophecy

Prophecy by S.J. Parris
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's review
Jul 07, 11

bookshelves: early-review-librarything, bookcrossing, made-me-look-something-up, read-for-review, satisfying, taught-me-something
Recommended to bookczuk by: goodreads, librarything
Read from June 25 to July 04, 2011

In a previous life, even before my nursing career, I majored in history. I still love a novel that immerses me in the past, and Elizabethan England remains a favorite time period, so it was with great to dive right in, thanks to the Early Review program at Library Thing and the generosity of the publisher.

There were so many unexpected things that delighted me about this book. I'm not even going to include good plot and good writing, even though it had both. Firstly, Giordano Bruno is a real historical character, who was a Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and was excommunicated for a couple of those things. But historically, he is fascinating. Normally, I cringe at books that incorporate real people into novels, but the author was tactful and skillful, keeping her story believable. Elizabeth Regina appears only in the periphery, but other historical greats do show up, within context.

Astronomy a topic oft discussed in our household, and while we only give so much credence to Saturn in Retrograde, the idea of the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in alignment, playing a significant part in the book, was of interest, as was the looming collision of those those two other stars, Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots.

The mention of William Byrd and his music was also coincidental. I'm in a choir which just performed his astonishingly beautiful Mass for four voices. The mention of Byrd, who was Catholic in a time when people lost their heads for such things, and the interplay of the conflict between the two churches added another element to the mix.

Though this was the second book in a series, I didn't feel out of my depth jumping in. Enough back story was alluded to so that I wasn't lost, but neither was the earlier book spoiled should I decide to read it. It was not fast-paced, like a modern thriller, but the details were exquisite.

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