It is 1583, the year of the Great Conjunction, the year the powerful planets of Saturn and Jupiter align to herald the end of one age and the dawn of another, and the streets of London are abuzz with predictions of Queen Elizabeth’s death. S.J. Parris continues the exploits of Giordiano Bruno, who leads a double life as philosopher at the French Embassy in London and spy for Sir Frances Walsingham. When one of the queen’s ladies is found dead amidst rumors of black magic, Elizabeth, through Sir Francis Walsingham, her spymaster and Secretary of State calls upon Giordano Bruno to solve the crimes, along with the help of her personal astrologer, John Dee. However Dee turns to a mysterious medium claiming knowledge of the murders, who Bruno fears is a fraud and has sinister motives. S.J. Parris weaves a marvelous plot, with numerous twists and turns, keeping the reader in the dark until the very end. Bruno comes close to death on several occasions, before the full extent of the Catholic plot-- to remove Elizabeth from the throne and replace her with a monarch that favors Rome-- is revealed.