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The Secret Dead

(Giordano Bruno #0.5)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  872 ratings  ·  84 reviews
A short story featuring Giordano Bruno: heretic, philosopher and spy. Perfect for fans of C.J. Sansom.

Even the dead have a story to tell…

Naples, 1566. During a sweltering summer, eighteen-year-old Giordano Bruno takes his final vows at San Domenico Maggiore and is admitted to the Dominican Order – despite doubts over his tendency to ask difficult questions.

Assisting in the
Kindle Edition, 16 pages
Published June 19th 2014 by Harper; ePub ed edition (19 Jun 2014) (first published September 12th 2013)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  872 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Even the dead have a story to tell....

Awaiting the new book on Giordano Bruno, 'Conspiracy', which is due in May, I still had this novella to read. A short story, sharp, to the point. Maybe even better than the multi hundred page books on Bruno. An entertaining historic read.

Naples, 1566. During the sweltering summer, eighteen year old Giordano Bruno takes his final vows at San Domenico Maggiore and is admitted to the Dominican Order - despite doubts over his tendency to ask difficult
Joseph Demakis
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Good little story, that captures the politics of the 1500. With the struggle between religion and science with a twist of drama.
“Because I believe God is bigger than the rules we impose on one another. I think He does not mind if we find different paths to Him.”

The more I keep reading these Historical mysteries , the more I come to realise that religion in its purest form still remain as Holy as ever, but somewhere down the line the "HOLY MEN" took matter into their own hands and turned religion and the concept of God, into one of the most vilified and untrustworthy of all human beliefs.

The story was fast, and the
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short Novella which has got me very interested in reading more from S J Parris. Her writing style is very similar to Karen Maitland who is one of my favourite writers of this genre. Historical nastiness, superstitions galore, and believable, likeable characters. My TBR shelf is just about to become even bigger!
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to know more about this character!
This is a short story in the early days of Giordino Bruno's career and gives an insight into his personality when he is confronted with bare-faced corruption and murder...and revenge.
I like the style and would be interested in beginning this historical fiction series 'properly'.
John Lee
I thought that I had read all of the books in this series and was quite surprised to come across this one.
Albeit a short story, I think that I was expecting to learn more about the early life of Giordano Bruno as that was how it was billed. I have to admit to being disappointed that the book covers just one incident in his early life which, although significant, did little to tell us about that early life or explain why, specifically, the Inquisition always seemed to be a real threat lurking in
This is a short prequel to the Giordano Bruno series. Bruno is an 18 year old novice at San Dominico Maggiore in Naples. Despite his tendency to ask too many questions, he has taken his final vows, and been admitted to the Dominican order. He helps out in the infirmary, and one night he participates in an illicit autopsy, on a young female, very recently murdered. The church would take a dislike to this kind of work, as science is seen as heretical. Whilst performing the autopsy, the infirmarian ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A novella to die for

A captivating introduction to the young friar, Bruno, named Giordano by his order. An overly-inquisitive teenager in sixteenth century Naples can soon find trouble, and Bruno finds himself unwittingly drawn into investigating a suspicious death. A neat novella that takes the reader to the smelly streets of medieval Europe, a place of intrigue and danger.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
A short intriguing story with great blend of mystery and excellent history. I never thought a short book can be as effective as this. If you enjoy old church mysteries this series is must. Can't wait to get my hand on the next book.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This little novella gives us an insight into Giordano Bruno at the age of 18 years in 1566. Bruno has just taken holy orders and is proving to be an outstanding scholar, but one with a taste for difficult questions and trouble submitting to authority.

One night Bruno stumbles across the infirmarian, Fra Gennaro, performing a secret autopsy on a young woman who has been recently murdered. Bruno is sickened by the violent way in which the woman died and has his suspicions about Fra Gennaro's claims
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story. I always wanted to know how Giordano Bruno became the investigator he was in later books.
A girl, rumoured to have been a prostitute, turns up dead in the Dominican's house. The infirmerer performs an illegal autopsy on the corpse and finds she was in the early stages of pregnancy. Bruno finds his way into the secret mortuary and sees most of what happens, but is sworn to secrecy.
The corpse is eventually identified, and so is the father of her child.
Bruno keeps his word to
Andrew Doohan
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a short story that provides much in the way of background to the story of Giordano Bruno before his escape from the Dominican convent in Naples that was his home, the place where he learnt and studied philosophy and theology, and the place where his inquisitive nature was finely honed to that which we've come to know and love in the series of novels.

The story is interesting in and of itself, but in terms of the greater narrative of the series provides insights into the character of
margaret chalmers
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A significant meeting.

A novella which contains more information than many full length books. We meet Giordano Bruno as a young man working as a reluctant Dominican friar but hungry for forbidden knowledge which could see him a victim of the Inquisition. He is involved in the concealing of a murder and its consequences. There is a great feeling of place and Time. Bruno himself comes across as a sympathetic and complicated character. I look forward to reading his longer adventures.
Carol McDonald
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True to her tradition, S.J. Parris reveals another slice of Giodano's lifee as a young friar. Ms Parris writes with such style and flair , communicating historical fictiony that I hope we will have many more tales to come about Bruno. I would reccommend this book to any adult who enjoys period literature with a hint of mystery and romance..

I will guarantee that you will quickly become a fan of this Italian philosopher/mystery solver! I chose this book because I had read SJ. Parris's three
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just what I needed. A little Bruno pick me up.
I love this short story of a younger Bruno who is starting to show the signs of what he will become in the series.
Great quick read.
Judi Mckay
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: flitwick-library
A wonderful little book that I only picked up because it was a Quick REad in the library but which has introduced me to Giordana Bruno and has given me the anticipation of reading the entire series. A neat little plot.
James Calahan
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good quick read

I was pleasantly surprised at the depth achieved in such a short work. Well worth the time to read. A good descriptive feel for life in the era that is well written and allows you to step into the city-state of the time easily.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fiction
I accidentally started this series part way through (I read the 4th book and then realised) and now wish to go back and read them all in order and happened across this at the prequel to the series! a good introduction to the main character of the series
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short was a rather wonderful picture of our Benedictine Giordano Bruno at a young age, embroiled in a murder done by a fellow monk rather by accident as he followed the infirmarian on a late-night task.
Rachel Sandra
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soooo good.

I was fascinated by the friars who are both evil and corrupt. It just remind us that such monstrosity is sometimes hidden in people who are religious pretending to be good.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
very short story with a easy read.

straightforward plot with no big twist.

still i enjoy reading it
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have a few other of SJP books on my too read shelves but waited till I read this to introduce the character. Very short story look forward to reading the first full length novel.
Julie Durovchic
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good quick read
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short introduction to set the scene for the later works. Well crafted and a good novella in its own right with a believable plot line and structure.
shannon  Stubbs
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not bad

This could have lead to a whole series. I really liked it. The world and character building was really good.
A short novella featuring Giordano Bruno at the age of 18 - a kind of ''this is how it all started''. Pleasant and quick read
Mark Barnes
6/10 (not bad): A brief novella introducing Giordano Bruno. Worth reading if you're a fan of the series.
Nick Phillips
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite brief (it's marketed as a novella) but very classy nonetheless. This is a great addition to the Giordano series and would make a great taster for someone not sure about trying historical detective fiction. I read four or five different series in this sub-genre and while they all owe a great debt to works like The Name of the Rose they all have their own unique points. With Giordano the key element is the classic plotting of the detective elements which wind around the history rather than ...more
So much doubt

Having read a number of Renaissance novels I really doubt the speed with which the Brother gave up his belief in the power of the rites he misses while he and his compatriot were attempting to understand the biology of a human body. The period is that of the Spanish Inquisition a fearful time for Catholics as well as Jews.
I was raised as a Protestant in the 1940s and 1950s. I and my friends who were of different religions maintained relatively strict attendance and beliefs.
We quite
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Pseudonym for author Stephanie Merritt

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

Other books in the series

Giordano Bruno (6 books)
  • Heresy (Giordano Bruno, #1)
  • Prophecy (Giordano Bruno, #2)
  • Sacrilege (Giordano Bruno, #3)
  • Treachery (Giordano Bruno, #4)
  • Conspiracy (Giordano Bruno, #5)
  • Execution (Giordano Bruno, #6)
“But this girl had already suffered violence at the hands of a man; whatever she may have been in life, our cutting and probing in the name of scientific enquiry seemed like a further violation.” 0 likes
“felt increasingly sure that God, whatever form He took, had not created us to kill and torture one another over the name we give Him.” 0 likes
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