A gripping murder mystery set in 16th-century France, as Giordano Bruno fights against multiple factions manipulating the succession of King Henry III.
December 1585: King Henry III of France is the last of his line. He has appointed a Protestant as his successor, which has caused a three-way war in his country. As a result, the king is in mortal fear of a coup being orchestrated by the ultra-conservative Catholic League.
Radical philosopher, ex-monk and spy Giordano Bruno, forced to return to Paris, is called upon by King Henry to unearth the motivation behind several mysterious but linked deaths. Each victim is connected to a larger plot to manipulate the royal succession; what they knew and who killed them is a mystery to be solved.
Meanwhile, Bruno makes an uneasy alliance with Charles Paget, a key figure in the community of English Catholics who tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. When Bruno is implicated in the death of Leonie, a member of the Queen Mother's "Flying Squadron," he is forced to call on Paget and his connections for help—and finds that it comes with a price, involving an old enemy.
S. J. Parris is the pseudonym of Stephanie Merritt. Since graduating from Cambridge, she has worked as a critic for a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as for radio and television. She currently writes for the Guardian in London and is the author of five novels in the Giordano Bruno mystery series. Visit S.J. Parris at www.sjparris.com.
"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."
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Parris’ overstuffed plot vividly dramatizes the vibrantly vicious world of the court in rich historical detail: tangled allegiances, back-stabbing, secret romances, and bizarre customs."