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Publisher's Summary

Three gripping tales from number one best seller S. J. Parris. 

The Secret Dead

During the summer of 1566, a girl’s body is found within the walls of a Neapolitan monastery. Novice monk Giordano Bruno has a habit of asking difficult questions, but this time his investigations may lose him his place in the Dominican Order - or deliver him into the hands of the Inquisition.

The Academy of Secrets

An invitation arrives from a secret society of enlightened philosophers led by the eccentric Don Giambattista della Porta. Bruno is captivated - even more so when he meets della Porta’s beautiful niece. But keeping these new heretical secrets soon becomes a matter of life or death.... 

The Dead of Winter

When Giordano Bruno is told the pope wants to see him, he fears he may be walking into a trap. The pope is intrigued by Bruno’s talent for complex memory games, but Rome is a den of intrigue, trickery and blood, and Bruno will be lucky to escape the Eternal City alive.

©2020 S. J. Parris (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Fans of Parris’s superior mysteries featuring cleric-turned-sleuth Giordano Bruno, seen most recently in Conspiracy, will be delighted by this stellar collection of three novellas from his early years. This is an accessible entry point for newcomers." (Publishers Weekly - starred)

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Profile Image for Jonathan Coore
  • Jonathan Coore
  • 01-16-21

Evocative and a good story

16th Century Naples is really brought to life. Narration was a good pace. Loved it.

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Chrissie Ann
  • Chrissie Ann
  • 02-07-21

3 great stories

Enjoyed all three stories about Bruno Guardino and how he gets himself in scrapes and out again. Very interesting insight into the inquisition in Italy in 1500 and how it affected even the clergy. No one was safe.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • AC RC qiekjdjus
  • 11-25-21

Dull and predictable

Very disappointing. I liked the other boots, but these are very different. Stories are dull and predictable, frustratingly obvious plots and not remotely exciting or interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Diane V Spiewak
  • 01-08-22

This series of books gets better.

Having read two later books I came back to this one. Had I read this first I don't think I would have progressed; it did not have the pace and depth of plot the others have but it was quite enjoyable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gerald T. Walford
  • 01-02-22

A play of light and shadow

Parris is an excellent writer! She knows her research but wears it very lightly. She also knows how to tell a decent story! I was enthralled by these stories set in Naples and Rome during the High Renaissance. But don't imagine these are lofty and rarified tales of high culture- no! Dirt, squalor, intrigue and hypocrisy form the meat of these stories: the terror of the inquisition, the yearning for intellectual honesty and emancipation. And a few murders of course!
Moreover it's thrilling to be treated to stories set outside of Tudor England. These latter are fine, but there's no lack of them extant already. Sadly, the real life of Giordano Bruno didn't end happily so I doubt Parris will be returning to Naples to tell us more adventures there. But these three novellas are perfection for their kind!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-02-22

italian novellas.

A good introduction to the Giordano Bruno series. These are set in italy. I found the slight Italian accent irritating at times.