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Prophecy: An Elizabethan Thriller

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    Interestingly, the issues raised in the book have become very current. Religion has been the cause of contention throughout history; it has caused many a war. There is civil unrest in many countries. Fear is in the air. Change is on the way.

    Prophecy, S. J. Parris This is an historical novel, the second of a series, taking place in the 1500's, during the time of the rivalry between Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England, for their rightful place on the throne. To protect her family's right to rule England, and prevent Mary, from ascending to the throne next, Elizabeth I, the Queen of England, has imprisoned Mary for years. The unusual alignment of planets Jupiter and Saturn, called "The Great Conjunction", has fostered rumors of the end of days for one age and the beginning of another. A plot has been uncovered that hopes to restore Mary, (daughter of King James V, whose son ascends to the throne after Elizabeth I,) to what some consider to be her rightful place on the throne and to remove Elizabeth (considered a bastard child of her father, King Henry VIII), thus restoring Catholicism to its rightful place in England, and also placing the person they believe is the rightful and legitimate heir to England, upon the throne. The Papists, followers of Mary, are at odds with the Protestants who are followers of Elizabeth who rules over the Church of England. Ambassador Castelnaus, his wife and followers, are loyal to Mary Stewart; some are fanatic and some are more tempered, as the Ambassador is, hoping for a diplomatic solution to the problem of the ascendancy to the throne of England. Some, however, are arguing for war and a hostile takeover. It is hard for me to justify Bruno's duplicitous behavior, which will sacrifice those who have befriended him, but he is working for the cause of England, and in the interest of one cause or another, people are often used to accomplish what is considered a justifiable end result. Right and wrong often simply depends on which side of the struggle you sit. Bruno has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and is a defrocked monk, because of his beliefs about the planetary cycles, the power of memory and also supernatural, magical influences. He is called "the heretic". Giordano Bruno, is employed by Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth Tudor's principal Secretary of State, as a secret double agent, to spy for England's cause and protect the Queen from plots against her life and government, while at the same time, he lives with, and is being protected by, the French Ambassador, Castelnaus. The plot thickens with the introduction of the Spanish government into the plan to remove Elizabeth from the throne. Ambassador Mendoza is a force to be reckoned with. Intrigue and murder mysteries are exciting and the plot will capture your attention and interest. It is well written and easy to read, notwithstanding the fact that some will be aware of the eventual outcome from a knowledge of history, and even though some of the conspiracies and deceptions sometimes seem contrived and Bruno seems a bit naïve and unprepared for the task before him, the story will often keep you on the edge of your seat. My one suggestion to the author, when the final copy is published (I read an ARC), is that she includes a timeline and a list of characters with their affiliations to make the book a bit less confusing for those of us who need to brush up on our history courses.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    good book!

    Good storyline with surpriseing twist and turns at the end. I did think the storyline a bit slow. However, stll very satisfy read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Worth the time!

    I started with the last book in this series, and went back to the beginning. This is the second book. I have really enjoyed the series. It is not light reading, you do need to pay attention, but it is also not too heavy.

    I think it would be a great book club book, and it is a good look at history. Although this is a fiction, it includes historical figures and facts surrounding those people.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    great historical fiction mystery

    This is a beautifully written, historical fiction thriller that takes place during the rule of Queen Elizabeth and in her court. If you are a fan of this era and know a bit about the whispers of occult and astrology that occurred during her reign, you are really going to enjoy this story of conspiracy and mystery. This is probably one of my favorite time periods to read about since it truly was an age of discovery and that these ideas were often described as heresy and treason. Yet, in the world of the ruling class, they were quietly relied upon. When there is a murder of the queen's ladies, Elizabeth calls in her astrologer and a former monk named Bruno to help solve the murders. Bruno first appears as an investigator and spy for the French King Henri in Parris' first book, Heresy. The story also touches upon the rivalry and conspiracy of Queens Mary and Elizabeth.

    The second half of the book really moves the plot forward and will have you guessing about who is behind the murderous plot and the loyalty of Queen Elizabeth to her trusted companions which may prove to not be in her best interest. I think my favorite part of the whole story is the word play and dialogue of Bruno which is so much fun to read. There is at times an overwhelming amount of historical detail which I find fascinating, but might bog down other readers. The ending caught me completely by surprise and I will now have to go back and read Heresy since I enjoyed this one so much.

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