I’m currently a little obsessed with 16th-century history and in particular Tudor England. It was a time and place of transformation. Religion and politics were closely tied together and both going through upheavals. Saying the wrong thing could get you executed. Deviance from acceptable doctrine – religious heresy or a lack of patriotic loyalty to your country – was a recipe for exclusion, deprivation, and death.
I’m therefore loving reading Heresy by S. J Parris. It’s a well-written historical murder mystery in the style of such predecessors as Ellis Peters’s Cadfael books. Like any good historical fiction, it makes use of what’s distinctive about that time. Intense allegiances and prejudices come into play. Structures of religion, gender and social standing all provide potential motives. The criminal investigation becomes compromised by the secret agendas of espionage and underground religion.
Like the best sci-fi and fantasy, it creates another world in the mind of the reader, and helps you to understand that world’s values. If you enjoy historical fiction then it’s totally worth a read.