Execution

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Member Reviews

I requested this book from Netgalley, as I was intrigued by the blurb, but I didn't realise until I began it that it is a later volume in a series. I generally avoid series, as I find they can get formulaic, and there are too many other stories and people to discover in literature, but also, I didn't want to enter a series on book 6. I will probablly keep this and perhaps try the first one, but until then, this goes on the backburner with apologies for my error in requesting.
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The story opens in July 1586. Elizabeth Tudor is the queen of England, a Protestant England, and Mary Stuart is under house arrest at Chartley Manor, Staffordshire. Mary wants the throne of England which she and many others believe is her right and this will open the way to restoring the 'true faith', Catholicism.
There is another plot afoot to kill Elizabeth and enthrone Mary. There have been many such plots all have failed due to the tireless work of Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's principal secretary and 'spymaster' and his network of informers and code breakers. 
This is a book where, if we know our history, the outcome is no mystery. Nevertheless there is a vey good medieval detective story  contained within the overall assassination plot.
In reading this book I was completely immersed in the everyday life of 16th century squalid London. The sights, the sounds and especially the smells of the people and places and the vast amount of geographical detail is a tribute to the research done by the author. 
I read this as a Kindle edition which helped enormously with understanding the many archaic words used. 
This is a thoroughly good read but for those of a squeamish nature you might want to close your eyes when you read of the traitors' execution. (Get it?)
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I was sent a copy of Execution by S.J. Parris to read and review by NetGalley.
Another cracking good read from S.J. Parris with Giordano Bruno at the helm.  Full of intrigue and twists and turns the story concerns a plot by conspirators to murder Queen Elizabeth and put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne.  We meet some familiar characters in the story and a whole host of others, with much dealing and double-dealing going on, while the author evocatively portrays the London of the time.  I have to admit there was a moment when I guessed without meaning to the truth regarding one of the intrigues, but that didn’t mar my enjoyment of the book as a whole.  There is plenty of tension – and gore – and everything picks up a pace towards the end, just as a good thriller should!  I was toying between giving this novel 4 or 5 stars but in the end it’s a story that keeps you reading and as there is no option of 4 ½ stars 5 it is!
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SJ Parris's latest addition to the Italian heretic, ex-priest, and philospher, Giordano Bruno series set in an Elizabethan England revolves around the Catholic Thomas Babbington's plot to depose the Protestant Elizabeth I, and replace her with the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots, to be freed from the Staffordshire Chartley Manor. Those of you familiar with this period of history will know how this all ends, but Parris's weaves a suspenseful and thrilling blend of fact and fiction, a story of murder, treachery, spies, and an exploration of the group of plotters themselves, their dreams, fears and loves, and of their passion, faith, doubts and friendship. Bruno has returned to England with his hopes of being permitted to be free to write his books on philosophy that he cannot in Europe.

To this end, he brings evidence to the spymaster, Francis Walsingham, of a plot to depose Elizabeth, but to his chagrin, Walsingham is already aware of it. His daughter Frances Sidney's close friend and companion, Clara Poole, had infiltrated the plotters on his orders, and recently been discovered disfigured and brutally murdered in a church graveyard. Walsingham wants Bruno to impersonate a newly arrived Spanish priest, Father Xavier Prado, to spy on the Catholic traitors and find out who killed Clara. Thomas Babbington is a young wealthy Catholic spurred on by adventure and glory, but the real leader of the group is the priest, John Ballard, posing as Captain Fortescue. Walsingham has other informers amongst the group, including Clara's brother, Robin Poole, a man with a talent for dissembling. In a London hostile to foreigners, there is more murder and a young child, Joe, goes missing. Will Bruno survive the dangers that surround him?

Parris succeeds in making her characterisations of the plotters all too human in their strengths and frailties, they have good qualities and do good, they are emotional, justifiably paranoid and all bought together with their different motivations, living in a Europe and England where your religion can get you killed and define the life that is open to you. Bruno himself wants rulers to make religious faith a matter of personal freedom, indeed, he wants to be free to write about and push this perspective, but there is a part of him that is aware that this is all to likely to be a pipe dream, and Elizabeth may not tolerate his point of view. This entertaining historical read provides a fascinating insight into this period and a plot that would go on to lead to the execution of a Queen. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
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I’ve enjoyed all of the Bruno series so far, so I had perhaps ridiculously high expectations for this book. It absolutely did not disappoint. I wondered whether the Babington plot was such well worn territory that there was nothing new to say but the focus was very quickly on who was on what side and this was so skillfully done that it kept me guessing right to the end. It was so compelling that I read the second half of the book in a day. In fact I was delighted my train was delayed as it gave me the opportunity to finish it uninterrupted! I wholeheartedly recommend this book and will eagerly await more myself.
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Bruno is back in London with a message for Walsingham, once again in the hope of employment as a spy. He becomes involved with a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth and put Mary Stuart on the throne. Alongside this, he is trying to discover who killed his friend’s maid which is of course linked. This book is great fun - he is posing as a priest and involved in all sorts of intrigues. This was another good episode in this series.
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This is the sixth book in the Giordano Bruno series although having not read the previous books I found this to be an excellent stand alone. I was aware there was history between certain characters but felt Parris had given enough information through the characters thoughts that I didn't feel I was missing anything.

It's fast paced and keeps you guessing all the way to the end. Some of the characters certainly aren't who we think they are!

I loved the character development and found myself a big fan of Bruno and Thomas! The writing style is very easy to read and keeps you interested, I read this in a day I was do caught up in wanting to know what happened!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be buying the previous books in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my review.
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Having read the previous Giordano Bruno books by SJ Parris I was keen to read her latest in this historical fiction series and it did not disappoint.   This is a stand alone tale as the author provides enough contextual information about Bruno and the other key characters to answer readers' questions.   However it is also a great continuation of the series.   This time Bruno, an excommunicated Dominican monk, has returned to England from France hoping to find peace and  sponsorship to write his philosophical texts.   In order to achieve this he finds himself involved in spying on a group who are plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and replace her on the throne with Queen Mary, currently imprisoned by Elizabeth.   The two queens are only alluded to in the story and although they are of relevance to the plot they do not feature as characters but rather as symbols of belief systems.    Few of the characters in the book are straightforward - double dealing, disguise, false names and   secrets abound.   The action is fast-paced and the main character is helped along the way by strong and well portrayed women and children.   Although set nearly five hundred years ago many of the themes in the book are contemporary issues such as distrust of foreigners, religious prejudice and bigotry, sexism and homophobia.   Parris weaves commentary on these issues throughout the text without in any way preaching.   I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction and also to those who enjoy a thrilling read.   I look forward to the next in the series.   I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in return for an honest review .
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Another fabulous and gripping read from S.J. Parris. This is book 6 featuring Giordano Bruno and is even more enthralling than the other 5, brilliantly written and researched....I could smell those streets of London! A totally thrilling and unputdownable read....more please!!

Thank you NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Such a pleasure to read the latest offering in this well researched and wonderful series! Giordano Bruno, is back in London and working for Sir Francis Walsingham, in the guise of a Roman Catholic priest, trying to infiltrate the Babington plotters and get information about the conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth and put Queen Mary Stuart on the English throne.
Bruno cannot stay out of trouble! He constantly falls into plots, gets beaten up on a regular basis, is always first on the scene when a dead body is found, is either climbing over walls, breaking down doors and creates hostility and suspicion from the native English folk, on account of being a swarthy foreigner. Sadly for Bruno, he is usually disappointed in love. He meets an old flame, but due to his investigations, has to ignore her presence, only to hear later, that she is not interested in a relationship with him! 
The research in this series of books is brilliant. I have been reading books about Mary Stuart for forty years, and because I knew this story so well, I could concentrate upon the mishaps of Bruno and his friends. Anthony Babington and John Ballard were actual characters, likewise Walsingham, and the smell and lifestyle in Tudor London was well portrayed. 
My only complaint was that the conclusion seemed rushed. It was almost like the author couldn't decide whether to stretch this story into a few more pages, or a new book, but the jump from the identity of the murderer to the traitors deaths weren't fully explained, nor, how the conspiracy was discovered and what the consequences were for both Elizabeth and Mary. There were some very strong and likeable characters in this story, and I did so enjoy this book! The only trouble is, I now have to wait such a long time for the next one to be completed!! Thank you for my advance copy, I am so very grateful. I will post a review to Goodreads this evening.
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I loved this book, and couldn't put it down.  I haven't read any other Giordano Bruno books, but will definitely seek them out now.  The story is gripping and compelling, and the characters well-drawn.  The author conjures up a real sense of 16th century England, and even though the characters sound modern, this doesn't seem like an anachronism.  Even though everyone knows the outcome of the Babington plot there is still a real tension to the story.  I would thoroughly recommend this book.
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I loved this. So much to enjoy. The period and the characters are beautifully drawn and the story romps along with intrigue, plotting and double dealing. I will be reading others by this author. Highly recommended.
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Unfortunately I did not finish reading ‘Execution’ by SJ Paris. I have read previous novels by this author and have enjoyed them in the past. Not sure if I’m just not so keen on these type of books anymore or the fact that it was more of the same.
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Hurray!!! Giordano Bruno is back! This time he becomes involved with the events around Mary Queen of Scots and the Babbington plot. If you are missing the Shardlake Series by CJ Samson which have sadly come to an end  then you should take a look at this series about an ex monk "detective" set in Elizabethan (rather than Henry VIII) times. This narrative for this outing really zips along, the series seems to just get better. I really like the intrigue and mystery around Mary, Queen of Scots attempts to free herself from prisoner and plot against Elizabeth and the plot of this novel does not disappoint. Very gripping. A real page turner. So enjoyable. Write more!
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Given a copy of this in exchange for an honest review .I was delighted to get this as have read all of S J Parris' Giordano Bruno novels  and looked forward to any addition to he series.Set during the reign of Elizabeth 1 against a background of plots and conspiracies to replace the Protestant Elizabeth with the Catholic Mary Stuart.
Bruno an Italian ex Dominican brother who left Italy on the run from the Spanish Inquisition.This time he is sent by the queens secretary Walsingham to investigate the brutal murder of a friend of his daughters..He also  has to impersonate a captured spanish priest who  its believed is involved in a plot against the queen.
There follows an investigation labyrinthine in its complications more murders and brutal treatment.The books give a remarkable picture of Elizabethan London you can almost smell the stench and you imagine the squalor those unfortunates not born to money or property lived in and it is easy to understand the reasons for the low life expectancy of he times.
The book like the previous ones is a thrilling page turner if you like historical fiction ,brilliantly researched and brilliantly written you've probably already read SJ Parris if not you've a treat in store.
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This is the sixth book in the series featuring Giordano Bruno.  Bruno returns from Paris to London and is once again employed by Francis Walsingham in the capacity of spy.  His mission is to discover the murderer of a young woman and in doing so he becomes heavily embroiled in another plot involving Mary Queen of Scots.  
This series is always well researched and is historically accurate.  The are plenty of twists and turns, threats to Bruno's life and interesting characters along the way.  The pace is good and it was a very enjoyable read.
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Bruno, the excommunicated Italian Dominican friar is back in fine form.  He has been spending time in Paris, but yearns for England and his work with Walsingham - the spymaster protector of Queen Elizabeth I.  He gets his chance when he is asked to impersonate a Spanish priest - Prado - who is coming to England to join a plot to execute Elizabeth, free her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, and place Mary on the throne of England as the true Catholic queen.  

I've enjoyed all the books in this series so far and this is no exception.  There are plenty of twists and turns and the first person narration works well to take us on the suspenseful journey with Bruno.  He meets up with his old love Sophia along the way as well as other old friends and enemies.  Highly recommended.
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Thank you to S J Parris and Netgalley for my ARC of EXECUTION.
This is the first book I have read in this series. The amazing research is expertly interspersed with the premise, the execution of the fifty-five year old Queen Elizabeth to make way for Mary Queen of Scots to assume what she and her followers think is her rightful place on the throne of England. This is richly layered and excellent take on the Babington plot. Brilliant. I  loved it.
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This is the sixth novel of S J Parris to feature the sixteenth-century philosopher, mathematician, poet, astronomical theorist, occultist and one-time Dominican friar, Giordano Bruno. This novel makes good use of the fact that it has also been suggested that the Giordano Bruno of history worked as a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham, the Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, while living in England in the 1580s.

This fast-paced novel begins with Bruno coming to England, from Paris, in 1586 to deliver to Francis Walsingham news of a plot by a group of Catholic Englishmen to kill Queen Elizabeth, and replace her on the throne with the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots currently held prisoner at Chartley Manor in Staffordshire.

Bruno soon discovers that Walsingham is well aware of the plot and is himself planning to use these Catholic plotters, nominally led by the wealthy young nobleman Thomas Babington, in an attempt to encourage Mary Queen of Scots to put her support in writing and so implicate herself in the plot enough to make certain of her own execution when Walsingham springs his trap and arrests the conspirators. 

Bruno is sent undercover by Walsingham to pose as a Catholic priest to report on the progress of the plot and to investigate the murder of a young woman Walsingham had previously sent to spy on the conspirators. 

Of course, the Babington Plot is a well-known event in Elizabethan history and there can be little in the way of suspense for the reader regarding the final outcome of the plot. There is, however, a good deal of suspense once Bruno is operating undercover with the plotters and constantly in danger of being discovered. In addition to Bruno himself a number of the main characters in this story are real historical figures not least Francis Walsingham who is shown to be a complex figure seemingly capable of both kindness and compassion as well as professional ruthlessness. His cryptanalyst, Thomas Phelippes, who is convincingly portrayed as a brilliant, but socially awkward, cryptographer acts as Bruno’s handler when he goes undercover. 

Naturally a number of the conspirators also feature in the novel. In addition to Thomas Babington, the brilliant and driven Jesuit priest, John Ballard, is clearly the real leader of this murderous enterprise. There are also some very strong female characters and while the social attitudes must necessarily reflect those of the Elizabethan era several of the characters, including Bruno himself, are shown to have in some respects at least more modern attitudes. 

This novel has clearly been written by someone with a deep knowledge and understanding of the period and who is more than capable of effortlessly using that knowledge to create a convincing representation of London at that time against which to present this very enjoyable Elizabethan thriller. Highly recommended.

I would like to express my thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for making a free download of this book available to me.
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It was such a pleasure to return to this series. Bruno is a great protagonist – he has many admirable qualities and interesting traits but he’s fallible and therefore believable. There’s an added frisson in knowing that he was a real person and that the story is woven around real events – in this case, the Babington Plot to assassinate Elizabeth I and put Mary Queen of Scots on the English throne.
I’d forgotten just how good Steph Merritt’s writing is. Descriptive without being too flowery, it immerses you in the noise and filth of sixteenth century London. I enjoyed the previous book, Conspiracy, set in Paris but it was good to be back on home soil. I love imagining London as it was then, trying to fit it in my mind with what remains.
Despite the fairly wide cast of characters, it’s easy to keep track of who’s who because they’re so well drawn. The dialogue feels authentic, and the nods to future events subtle rather than clunky. There’s only one problem with reading an excellent book like this ahead of publication – there’s too long to wait for the next instalment!
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