S.J. Parris offers the reader a multisensory, cinematic experience surrounding the deadly black plague of London in 1584. Sacrilege, her the third novel featuring Giordano Bruno, the apostate Italian monk who has fled the clutches of the Inquisition for eight years, is neither Catholic nor Calvinist.
Now 36 years old, Bruno once again returns as the spymaster employed by Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s master of intelligence. One day he fears he is followed as he walks the streets of London. When he confronts the assailant, he is surprised to see the beautiful Sophia Underhill, who he met sometime ago in Oxford, and once again her charm captivates him. Disguised as a boy, her subterfuge is a result of being accused of the murder of her husband, Sir Edward Kinglsey of Canterbury. When Sophia (now Kit) pleads with Bruno to help clear her name, he is unable to resist the memories she stirs.
With his own agenda in mind, he must convince Walsingham to let him travel to the site of the murder of Thomas Becket. Walsingham has learned of a possible conspiracy theory. It is believed that papists in Canterbury have hidden Becket’s bones with plans to establish a shrine, thus establishing him as a martyr. Walsingham agrees to send Bruno undercover as Dr. Filippo Savolino, scholar and writer of the history of Christendom. Bruno is led by his heart, but his duty to Queen Elizabeth is steadfast.
Parris provides a sumptuously rich setting with an absorbing entangled plotline that will keep the reader on a precipice of sudden death. Sacrilege is a historical thriller that can stand on its own and which will leave lovers of this genre pleasurably satisfied, anticipating of the next appearance of Giordano Bruno.