This is the seventh, and latest book in CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series and I have looking forward to it coming out.
If you haven’t read any of the previous novels in the series I suggest starting at the beginning of the series to get a flavour of the period and the characters.
Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer, a man with a disability and he lives in the latter end of Henry VIII’s reign. This novel is set during the reign of his son, Edward VI.
Shardlake is asked by the Lady Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth I, to look into a case where one of her distant Boleyn relatives is accused of murdering his wife. The problem is that the case is in Norwich, in the middle of her half-sister Mary’s land and where there is great civil unrest.
This is a book full of action, full of the details of life in Tudor England and gives a really good picture of the Kett rebellion, a real event. I love novels like this that are based on little known real events and where you can feel an echo of what it might have been like to be in the midst of it.
The story also dovetailed nicely with Alison Weir’s book about Henry VIII’s children, which told a little of the story from the King/Protector’s viewpoint.
Much as I enjoyed the history aspects of the story I think the book could have done with a bit of good editing to weed out some of the detail about the rebellion that didn’t add to the story or move it along.
The other niggle I have about the book is that I never felt that Shardlake, Nick and Jack were in serious jeopardy. I always knew there would be a way out. I think perhaps because there was too much book left when things were critical for the characters for them to meet their end.
Niggles apart, I enjoyed the book enough to buy an electronic version for my Kindle so I could finish the book when I didn’t have enough luggage allowance left to take a large 3/4 read book on holiday!