At the Sign of Friendship
À l’enseigne de l’amitié

Jacques Bonnet
FOREIGN SALES: Italy, Ponte alle Grazie ; Brazil, Empresa Folha da Manha

In the year 1582, the celebrated philosopher Giordano Bruno is staying in the Maubert neighbourhood of Paris.  In this same year, in this same neighbourhood, a horrible murder takes place: the bookseller Nicolas Heucqueville is killed during the night, along with his wife, his sister, his two sons, and his newborn baby and his nursemaid. As for his elderly father, a former jeweller, he is found hideously crucified. At the scene of the massacre, written in the blood of the victims, a few enigmatic words are found… in Italian.  Dagron, the extremely well-read police officer charged with the investigation, calls upon Bruno to interpret them.  The latter thus sets off on the hunt for the astonishing culprits in the Paris of the last of the Valois, with its shopkeepers, its colleges, its bookshops and taverns of the Latin Quarter.

Over the course of the trails followed and then abandoned, Jacques Bonnet leads the reader a merry dance through the effervescent sixteenth century. Along the way, he conjures up the Saint Bartholomew massacre, the power struggles and famous trials, the great philosophical texts and their authors. We dine with Giordano Bruno and follow his conversations with the young narrator, the student son of a magistrate, as well as with a certain William, a young English actor in search of great texts to mount on the stage…

  • Published on janvier 21st, 2002
  • 179 pages


« This first story is a novel in trompe-l’œil, a scholarly novel, a detective novel and an historical essay all at the same time. » Le Point
« Like a set of Russian dolls, this is a work full of forged period documents and little traps for the scholarly. » Libération