Conspiracy by S.J. Parris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Our hero finds himself back in Paris and almost immediately drawn into the intrigues of the French court. Add to that some murder and mystery, and a liberal smattering of religious and political tensions, and you have an excellent narrative to keep your attention.
Returning to Paris at the behest of Sir Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth’s chief secretary and spy, Bruno encounters old friends from his previous time in the city. He, unfortunately, meets some new residents of the great city, some of whom he might prefer to avoid. Being who is, however, Bruno cannot avoid being caught up in the affairs, great and small, that play out across the City of Paris – and, indeed, the nation of France. Although he manages to identify the persons responsible for the series of murders to which he is exposed, the outcome is not to his satisfaction.
This novel features another reunion with the woman who has both captured and broken his heart in past. The encounter reveals Bruno as the human being that he is. A potential reconciliation with the Catholic Church, the conduit of which request is the first murder Bruno encounters, looks both possible and as far out of his reach as before. Only time will tell.
The novel’s presentation of Paris and the French court at the time of the late Elizabethan age was new to me in this particular storyline. I found it both engaging and intriguing, primarily because while I have read widely on England during the Elizabethan age, I know very little about the other major powers during that period except the English perspective. I don’t propose to head to the library for more history books, but it was nice to have my understanding stretched.
A compelling historical work of fiction, this novel is well worth reading for anyone with a passing interest in the late Elizabethan age.
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