Treachery by S.J. Parris

‘Treachery’ is the fourth book in the Giordano Bruno series by S.J. Paris (Stephanie Merrit), and once again the brilliant mix of history and fiction has led to a fantastic historical crime novel.

Sir Frances Drake, already famous for sailing around the world, has amassed a fleet in Plymouth preparing to sail to Spain to attack various ports and release English ships that are being held hostage. Sir Philip Sidney and his long-time friend Giordano Bruno are sent to Plymouth by Queen Elizabeth I so that they can escort the exiled Portuguese leader Dom Antonio to London. But Sidney, hungry for adventure, has a secret plan. He intends to travel with Drake and his crew on the lead ship – Elizabeth Bonaventure – without the Queen’s permission.

But, when Sidney and Bruno arrive in Plymouth, they hear that an officer has committed suicide on Drake’s ship. It is quickly determined that the death is murder disguised as suicide. Hoping to gain favour with Drake, Sidney volunteers Bruno’s services to investigate the murder.

Bruno moves from suspect to suspect on Drakes ship and through the seedy port city of Plymouth as he attempts to catch the murderer. To complicate matters:- Drake is in possession of an ancient and possibly heretical book which he wants Bruno to translate; – old enemies of both Drake and Bruno are in Plymouth and seeking revenge; – Bruno finds himself entangled with the beautiful and rich widowed cousin of Drake’s wife.

With 1585 laws and customs at the mercy of bribery and corruption, Plymouth is a dangerous place to find yourself on the wrong side of the wrong people. Bruno puts his life on the line several times during his investigations. In the end, it is the least likely person who ends up being guilty.


This is only the second book that I’ve read in this series (the other was ‘Sacrilege’), but I’ve developed a great affection for the ex-monk, Scholar, exile and super-sleuth Giordano Bruno. He is a real character from history who very likely did work as a spy for Walsingham while he was living in England. Sidney’s plans to travel with Drake without the Queen’s permission are also based on fact.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series which has Bruno based in Paris. I’m also keen to read the first two books in the series ‘Heresy’ and ‘Prophecy’.

The 5th novel is ‘Conspiracy‘.


Book Published 2014


See a full list of books by S.J. Parris

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Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Historical, Parris, SJ, Spy

One Response to Treachery by S.J. Parris

  1. Pingback: Prophecy by S.J. Parris | Written Gems

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