Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was a mystic, philosopher and scientist whose ideas were decades ahead of their time. A proponent of a unificatory vision of science, he was both a champion of the occult as Newton would be after him, and a torch-bearer for the sort of holistic dreams that Leonardo had cherished before him. As such he is perfect material for the third in Michael White's loose trilogy of science biographies - after Newton, the last sorcerer, and Leonardo, the first scientist, we have Bruno, science's first martyr.THE POPE AND THE HERETIC re-creates not just the vibrancy of intellectual life at the height of the Renaissance but also the horrific cost of pursuing ideas which ran counter to the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church. After almost eight years' imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Inquisition, Bruno was burned at the stake for his beliefs - or rather, his refusal to accept that intellectual investigation was limited by the dictats of Rome. His life and martyrdom are the subjects of this fascinating book.