[book review] SJ Parris, Treachery

cover treachery

SJ Parris, Treachery, (London:  HarperCollins, 2014)

There’s a tang of salt in the air as Giordano Bruno and Sir Philip Sidney head to Plymouth in this fourth instalment of his adventures. Drake is about to set out on another quest for fame, glory, and riches, plus of course the opportunity to pull a few Spanish beards … until one of his crew is murdered.


Whilst not particularly profound, the plots are decent enough and rattle along, with a fairly typical cast of dodgy-looking priests, beautiful duchesses, and whores. Who to trust, though?

This time round, some of the subject matter was a bit darker than in other outings, with a new frisson of class antagonism, too . I’m just about learning to filter out the annoying combination of first person narrative and present tense: it’s highly distracting and anachronistic when you find Bruno apparently facing certain death with well over 100 pages to go. I’m also hoping that Sir Philip Sidney learns not to slap everyone on the back – this character tic is so overworked I’m beginning to count how often he does it.

Overall, this episode was fairly representative of the series in being enjoyable and well-researched light reading. I believe it would be massively improved simply by switching to third-person past tense narration …

(read in March 2019 and originally posted on Goodreads)

Author: Boar's Head, Eastcheap

Hyperactive English Teacher and Tutor; Shakespeare-obsessed 'Villainous abominable misleader of youth'; 'old white-bearded Satan'; Friend of the Orangutan

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