J Sansom dazzles with his great set of Tudor era historical mysteries, mixing a few legal conundrums with controversies of the time to keep the reader hooked England is at war, though its citizenry is less than enamoured with the idea France remains a thorn in the side of King Henry VIII and he has done all he can to prepare the country for battle, including debasing the already fragile currency Matthew Shardlake watches and wonders what is to come for his country, when he is not spending time at the mental institution visiting a new friend, Ellen Fettiplace Her time under lock and key is reaching two decades, though she espouses innocence for the charges levied against her When Shardlake is summoned to Court, he meets with Queen Catherine Parr and discovers a new case on which to work One of the Queen s former ladies has a legal matter that will require some attention Her son was a tutor in a household where two young wards of the state were placed This tutor indicated that there were issues in said household, but before any formal reporting could be done, the tutor was found hanging, though some wonder if it might have been murder This will require Shardlake to visit the Court of Wards, seeking not only an injunction against the placement of these two wards, but to discover what has been going on To do so, Shardlake and his assistant, Barak, will have to venture out to interview all involved Shardlake is prepared for this, as it will give him the chance to learn about Ellen s circumstances as well The Court of Wards handles the mentally infirm as part of their oversight and Ellen s residence before incarceration was along the route Shardlake must follow With war coming and soldiers preparing for battle, Shardlake s inquiries will prove explosive in all senses of the word Might Ellen not have committed murder as she is said to have done Could the fire that destroyed the foundry on which she lived not have been of her own doing And what of these wards, who are apparently not safe in their current placement Shardlake is ready for anything, including a French invasion, in this stunning novel A scintillating account of events by C.
J Sansom, who uses history and dramatic effect throughout the piece Those who have loved the series to date will surely want to continue with this novel.
After a stuttering step on my part, I have come to see that C.
J Sansom educates and entertains the reader with each passing story As my work involves Child Welfare and Protection, this story was especially interesting to me, as I was able to explore how things were done five centuries before Matthew Shardlake continues to defy logic and pushes to better understand the Tudor world around him, pushing the limits whenever possible His adventures take him all over the country, though he cannot shake much of the criticism and mockery, no matter where he goes With a strong affinity for Ellen Fettiplace, the reader can see a softer side of Shardlake s character, though there is still something holding him back While the ward case seems less to shine a light on what SHardlake feels, the reader gets of Barak s personality shining through, with his wife carrying their child Series fans will know the monumental nature of this and respect its addition in the story a little Shardlake remains a keen legal mind and appears to have the respect of many senior officials at Court, which is significant with the history he possesses The reader will likely enjoy many of the plot and character advancements found within this piece and I applaud Sansom s subtle attention to both Mixing a few characters from the history books alongside a handful of entertaining newbies, Sansom develops a wonderful cast to propel the story forward in many directions I have said it before and will repeat myself, Sansom has a wonderful way of weaving his characters into a glorious tapestry and will not disappoint The novel is well paced and offers English history with a Tudor flavour, as the country prepares for another battle The novel is by no means out of the realm of any reader, though its topic and analysis can sometimes give it a deeper and intense feel, alongside the long and intricate chapters that may be red flags for some readers The patient reader may enjoy peeling back the layers of history required to digest the larger plot I am eager that I gave the series another chance and want to get to the core of the Sansom reading experience Kudos, Mr Sansom, for keeping me wondering as I learn much about the Tudor dynasty I cannot wait to continue learning with this series Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge Five stars again for this the fifth book in the Matthew Shardlake series Each book progresses us a little through the reign of Henry VIII By now he is married to Catherine Parr and he is not a well man although he is still pursuing his unfortunate desire to war against the French There is a great deal of historical fact in this book about the Tudor navy which would normally not interest me but the author handles it deftly and passes the information on in an interesting way There are two parallel plot lines, both of which tell interesting stories about the lives of women at that time and the misfortunes which could befall them It is another huge book 630 pages but as usual I had to keep reading with as few pauses as possible to get to the end Sadly there is only one book for me to read and then the prospect of a long wait for the next one.
I don t consider myself much of a fangirl I never joined Team Edward or Team Peeta Never even swooned at the thought of Mr Darcy But you can sign me up for Team Matthew.
In the fifth installment of Sansom s Matthew Shardlake mysteries our unlikely heroes are out to find justice and rescue the downtrodden once again This time, the backdrop is Portsmouth and surrounding countryside as the French prepare to attack during the summer of 1545 Henry VIII is aging and becoming irrational regarding his escapades against the French that achieve nothing other than reducing the population of young men on both sides.
As with the prior novels, there are a multitude of moments when I felt my heartstrings tugged for Matthew, who is always trying to do what is right, even if it may kill him Thankfully, he has the street wise Jack Barak to always watch his back Barak s character has evolved and aged, and we see he and Tamasin preparing for the birth of their second child after the loss of their first in Revelation Though he is settling into married life, Barak still has his fighting spirit that leads him into trouble at times He and Matthew are the perfect pair.
Sansom never fails to expertly recreate Tudor England, from the London streets to the deck of the Mary Rose Through Shardlake and Barak s travels in this novel, we visit a priory that has been converted to the residence of a gentleman with new money, small out of the way villages, and the stinking army camps as England prepares for invasion Each scene is written to enable the reader to perfectly envision the scene and feel as though we know each character personally.
The dual mysteries in Heartstone build slowly and suspensefully, leaving me with several conflicting theories regarding the likely outcome Each one was wrong Matthew manages to uncover all sorts of secrets and find new souls for him to attempt to save He gets so caught up in his need to know truth and seek justice that he gets himself to a point where he wearily admits defeat in a heartbreaking moment.
I have Lamentation on my shelf, and part of me wants to scoop it up right away.
but I will wait, because I just don t know what I will do when I have no Matthew Shardlake stories to read.
Such a great book, brilliant storytelling which takes you back into time as if yer actually there with its detailed historical content A mystery which evolves, splits into multiples parts, intertwines enroute, unravels reveals many eye openers as the layers are peeled away some grand reveals too as the story comes to it s conclusion within a great historical chapter retold with Master Shardlake centre stage.
To say any would reveal little snippets of clues but as always I find myself saying after I read the next episode of Shardlake Why do I leave it so long between books His best yet for me, top marks here with 5 stars.
Samson featuring hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake Even though the books seem to be get larger as this series grows, I enjoyed every page of this mystery series set in Tudor England The year is 1545 and Henry VIII is pursuing his war with the French even though it has emptied his coffers and impoverishing his people with ever increasing crippling taxes He is now conscripting farmers and workers in their thousands and sending them to Portsmouth to await the French invasion.
Matthew has taken on a case as a favour to the Queen Catherine Parr to look into a case involving a ward of the courts and despite the country being on the brink of invasion must travel south to Hampshire to investigate As always he is accompanied by his faithful clerk Barak whose baby is due any day The unusual case of Ellen Fettisplace, an inmate of Bedlam is still on his mind as he and Ellen have become friends and he decides to make enquiries in her home village on his way to Hampshire Both cases are complex and Matthew and Barak are away a lot longer than planned.
As always Sansom does a wonderful job in setting the scene, with full immersion in sights and sounds of Tudor England, both in the streets of London, the countryside waiting for invasion and the Kings ships preparing for war in Portsmouth harbour Matthew must use all his investigative skills as well as his diplomatic skills to avoid being caught up in the corruption and deception of the players in Henry s court.
I sometimes commented on the books of Matthew Shardlake as being a bit slow in story and pace, but this one, I have to say, I really enjoyed from beginning to end, even if it were 730 pages Great solid story in historic setting on the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake, in times of Henry VIII.
Summer, England Is At War Henry VIII S Invasion Of France Has Gone Badly Wrong Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake Is Given An Intriguing Legal Case By An Old Servant Of Queen Catherine Parr He Is Asked To Investigate Claims Of Monstrous Wrongs Committed Against A Young Ward Of The Court, Which Have Already Involved One Mysterious Death This could ve easily become my favorite in the series if it hadn t been so long, and the last part hadn t been so Formulaic But because I have read these back to back, I found myself being annoyed by the main character In the beginning, I loved that he was never than a man of his time, that he was a bit naive and got so caught up in Cromwell s reforms that he was blind to it s effects But now, after four books, it was annoying me to see that he had learned absolutely nothing give him a good sob story, get him to feel sorry for you, and the man is blind to everything, only to be shocked and hurt when once again he ends up being taken advantage of and almost killed Therefore, I found the big reveal at the end completely underwhelming But still, these books are wonderful in terms of historical detail, and make the era come to life really remarkably.
With a feeble internal whoop of joy, I finally finished this incredibly over written novel which at least had the virtue of picking up the pace in the last quarter But my what a slog to get there Nearly gave up at the 100 page mark after a laborious opening which threatened little and delivered less I only kept going after seeing that Goodreaders had granted this book the highest rating of all Shardlake novels I was just about intrigued enough to discover why I am still wondering why Why are readers so seemingly enthralled by such repetitive dialogue, minimal action, little plotting, non existent suspense and none of the atmosphere that gripped me in Dissolution.
On and on it goes well established characters like Barak and Guy develop not at all, even Shardlake was interesting as a crabby, short tempered at times unpleasant lead Now he is decidedly soppy.
The twist, when it comes, after what is an age and then some, is good and the story then shifts into at least a moderate gear That Shardlake is seriously endangered in a particular spot at the wrong time by a particular protaganist was no surprise I had guessed it would happen at the halfway mark, the perils of a modest knowledge of history I guess I didn t mind that The history lesson was interesting and Sansom always gives a good sense of place And boy doesn t he love telling you how much research he s done.
But my dear boy, the book was at least twice the length it needed to be There was nary enough story, plot, character development to justify it being so long I may have to be paid to read another Shardlake and that saddens me Maybe good old Reader s digest were on to something after all.
Rock solid five stars for this one Sent to investigate corrupt dealings by Queen Catherine Parr, hunchback lawyer Matthew Sheldrake is faced with murder, high level political deceit, the imminent invasion by the French, old debts that have to be settled and getting to the bottom of why a friend is confined to the Bedlum asylum Rich in the history of these turbulent times this is a masterful read and one of the best historical crime novels you could read Top, top class.