The No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling series
The fifth book in S. J. Parris’s bestselling, critically acclaimed series following Giordano Bruno, set at the time of Queen Elizabeth I
Perfect for fans of C. J. Sansom and Hilary Mantel
A KING WITHOUT AN HEIR
Heretic-turned-spy Giordano Bruno arrives in Paris to find a city on the edge of catastrophe. King Henri III lives in fear of a coup by the Duke of Guise and his fanatical Catholic League, and another massacre on the streets.
A COURT AT WAR WITH GOD
When Bruno’s old rival, Father Paul Lefèvre is found murdered, Bruno is drawn into a dangerous web of religious politics and court intrigue. And watching over his shoulder is the King’s mother, Catherine de Medici, with her harem of beautiful spies.
A DEADLY CONSPIRACY IN PLAY
When murder strikes at the heart of the Palace, Bruno finds himself on the trail of a killer who is protecting a terrible secret. With the royal houses of France and England under threat, Bruno must expose the truth – or be silenced for good…
Praise for S. J. Parris
‘A delicious blend of history and thriller’ The Times
‘An omnipresent sense of danger’ Daily Mail
‘Colourful characters, fast-moving plots and a world where one false step in religion or politics can mean a grisly death’ Sunday Times
‘Pacy, intricate, and thrilling’ Observer
‘Vivid, sprawling … Well-crafted, exuberant’ Financial Times
‘Impossible to resist’ Daily Telegraph
‘Twists and turns like a corkscrew of venomous snakes’ Stuart MacBride
‘It has everything – intrigue, mystery and excellent history’ Kate Mosse
‘The period is incredibly vivid and the story utterly gripping’ Conn Iggulden
‘A brilliantly unusual glimpse at the intrigues surrounding Queen Elizabeth I’ Andrew Taylor
About the author
No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller S. J. Parris is the pseudonym of the author and journalist Stephanie Merritt. It was as a student at Cambridge researching a paper on the period that Stephanie first became fascinated by the rich history of Tudor England and Renaissance Europe. Since then, her interest has grown and led her to create this series of historical thrillers featuring Giordano Bruno.
Stephanie has worked as a critic and feature writer for a variety of newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and television. She has also written the contemporary psychological thriller While You Sleep under her own name. She currently writes for the Observer and the Guardian, and lives in Surrey with her son.
In Parris's brilliant fifth Giordano Bruno thriller (after Treachery), Bruno, an Italian expatriate and free thinker who has served as an operative for Elizabeth I's legendary spymaster, Francis Walsingham, travels in 1585 to Paris to ask a friend of his, Fr. Paul Lef vre, to intercede with the pope to reverse his excommunication for reading forbidden books. Lef vre agrees to consider Bruno's request, but within a week the priest is found floating in the Seine barely alive with his skull smashed; shortly before, he delivered a fire-and-brimstone sermon meant to "shake Paris to its foundations." At his friend's request, Bruno is brought to Lef vre, who utters the word Circe before dying. Bruno's curiosity about the murder and the cryptic last message gets official sanction when the French king summons Bruno and asks him to investigate. Parris is, as always, adept at maintaining a fraught atmosphere, and effortlessly integrates the whodunit plot with the power politics of the time. This superior blend of religious schisms and murder should win Parris new fans.