S. J. Parris


""...an enlightening, entertaining and enthralling tome on what is possible with enough research, literary skill and imagination. " "


In the autumn of 1583 Queen Elizabeth I is the ruling monarch yet she is under threat from usurpers. Plans for an invasion with the goal of placing Mary Stuart (Mary Queen Of Scots) on the throne and restoring the Catholic faith in England are being laid into place. An astrological phenomenon believed to signify the death of one age and herald in another has led to wild speculation.

Giordano Bruno, the maverick and endearing agent of Sir Francis Walsingham - the Queen's spymaster – has infiltrated the ranks of dissenters within the French embassy with the aim of securing enough evidence to ensure the execution of Mary Stuart and her co-conspirators.

Meanwhile within the palace walls a maid of honour is murdered and her body defaced with symbols of the occult. Is black magic afoot or are there even more sinister forces at work?

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Spying in the middle ages is a new twist on the spy story and Parris handles the convolutions of a tale which involves agents, double agents and honest men with an endearing alacrity. The plot is very well thought out and scripted in such a way as to constantly alter the reader's opinion as to who is the guilty party and just who is the villain. With a myriad of important characters, sub plots and historical data to factor into the story this is not what I would class as an easy read. Rather it is an enlightening, entertaining and enthralling tome on what is possible with enough research, literary skill and imagination. If you cannot devote an un-interrupted hour when reading Prophecy then wait until you can give it the attention it both deserves and demands. Chief among the characters is Bruno the seer, diplomat, jester and academic and he carries the story excellently although he has many roles to fulfil. Other significant characters are Howard, Sidney, Castelnau, Dumas, Walsingham, Marie, Fowler, Douglas who all make fine contributions in their respective roles. Some characters such as Mary Stuart, Queen Elizabeth, King James, and others hand heavy throughout the novel despite their having no actual dialogue. Once I first got into this novel I was a little confused as to why I ( A Scotsman) was siding with Bruno's attempts to keep Elizabeth I on the throne when she could have been deposed by Mary Queen Of Scots. In the end I put it down to the pitch of the tight prose and the atmosphere created in Parris's depiction of medieval England. I was transported back and merely wanted the person depicted as the good guy to win. Although I did find myself questioning my own recollection of a history lesson taught long ago, to the extent that I had to fire up the PC and ask Mr Google as to who reigned after Queen Elizabeth. This somewhat detracted from certain plot ideas as I kind of knew that they would or wouldn't succeed. However though, if you want a cracking read and have time to enjoy it then you won't go far wrong with Prophecy.

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