Customer Reviews for

Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Excellent pose

King Henry VIII selects Thomas Cromwell to destroy the Roman Church through newly enacted laws, phony witchcraft-like trials, and informers in every walk of life. Cromwell performs his assignment with zeal, but also worries about a revolt from the oppressed Papists and...
King Henry VIII selects Thomas Cromwell to destroy the Roman Church through newly enacted laws, phony witchcraft-like trials, and informers in every walk of life. Cromwell performs his assignment with zeal, but also worries about a revolt from the oppressed Papists and others opposed to the newly formed Church of England.

In 1537 Cromwell learns that someone murdered one of his agents Commissioner Singleton while on the King¿ s business at the Monastery of St. Donatus the Ascendant of Scarnsea. He enlists lawyer Matthew Shardlake to investigate. Known in the court system for his hunchback, Shardlake and his clerk travel to the Benedictine cloister to make inquiries amongst close-mouthed individuals filled with animosity towards the outsiders. The sleuths find a hotbed of sexual depravity and treasonous acts, but worse to Shardlake, he obtains damaging information about his employer that places Cromwell in a less than holy light and himself in peril for his life. Still he must stop a serial killer from murdering again.

Using historical facts and real persona from the period of ¿Dissolution of the English Monasteries¿ (1536-1540), C.J. Sansom provides readers with a vivid Tudor historical mystery. The background is so descriptive it overwhelms the prime theme of a well-written who-done-it in spite of interweaving tidbits into the plot. Shardlake is the glue as he refuses to allow his handicap back from keeping him from performing his duties but struggles with his values once he learns the truth about his mentor. Cromwell is cleverly drawn as a Machiavellian type by using authentic references to his recorded actions. Fans of historical mysteries with an emphasis on the era will appreciate DISSOLUTION.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Too bad - this book looked interesting

I refuse to pay more for an ebook than what I will pay for the actual book.
I love the Nook that I got for Christmas - but, some of the prices are rediculous. There are better deals on Amazon. B&N might want to pay attention to them. This book is $7.88 for the Kindle....
I refuse to pay more for an ebook than what I will pay for the actual book.
I love the Nook that I got for Christmas - but, some of the prices are rediculous. There are better deals on Amazon. B&N might want to pay attention to them. This book is $7.88 for the Kindle.
Maybe I should have asked for a Kindle!

posted by 6052000 on January 26, 2011

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent pose

    King Henry VIII selects Thomas Cromwell to destroy the Roman Church through newly enacted laws, phony witchcraft-like trials, and informers in every walk of life. Cromwell performs his assignment with zeal, but also worries about a revolt from the oppressed Papists and others opposed to the newly formed Church of England.<P> In 1537 Cromwell learns that someone murdered one of his agents Commissioner Singleton while on the King¿ s business at the Monastery of St. Donatus the Ascendant of Scarnsea. He enlists lawyer Matthew Shardlake to investigate. Known in the court system for his hunchback, Shardlake and his clerk travel to the Benedictine cloister to make inquiries amongst close-mouthed individuals filled with animosity towards the outsiders. The sleuths find a hotbed of sexual depravity and treasonous acts, but worse to Shardlake, he obtains damaging information about his employer that places Cromwell in a less than holy light and himself in peril for his life. Still he must stop a serial killer from murdering again.<P> Using historical facts and real persona from the period of ¿Dissolution of the English Monasteries¿ (1536-1540), C.J. Sansom provides readers with a vivid Tudor historical mystery. The background is so descriptive it overwhelms the prime theme of a well-written who-done-it in spite of interweaving tidbits into the plot. Shardlake is the glue as he refuses to allow his handicap back from keeping him from performing his duties but struggles with his values once he learns the truth about his mentor. Cromwell is cleverly drawn as a Machiavellian type by using authentic references to his recorded actions. Fans of historical mysteries with an emphasis on the era will appreciate DISSOLUTION.<P> Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2011

    Too bad - this book looked interesting

    I refuse to pay more for an ebook than what I will pay for the actual book.
    I love the Nook that I got for Christmas - but, some of the prices are rediculous. There are better deals on Amazon. B&N might want to pay attention to them. This book is $7.88 for the Kindle.
    Maybe I should have asked for a Kindle!

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2011

    Ho-hum

    This pedestrian mystery improved my medieval vocabulary but did little else to hold my attention. For readers who are seriously interested in Thomas Cromwell's England, I would suggest Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" instead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Welcome Surprize!

    So often when the facts are wrong in a historical novel of any kind, it is a big turn off to anyone with a knowledge of history. This is not the case with this author. He is dead on with his facts,even with the personalities of famous persons. At first I found lawyer Matthew Shardlake an unsympathic hero, being one of the men who were involved with the "Dissolution" of the monastic life in England. But by the end of the book I was appreciating the very human emotions & inner conflicts that the author placed within this character and others about this drastic change. Though the story wandered a bit in the middle, and the ending a little predictable , it was good enough to make me add this author to my list of medieval fiction/mystery writers. The author will only get better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    NOT THE PAGE-TURNER I EXPECTED

    Though C.J. Sansom's debut novel is an interesting read, it wasn't the page-turner I expected. It's well-researched and Matthew Shardlake is a believable character. The one thing that did put me off was Thomas Cromwell's confession. I simply couldn't see this crafty and clever historical figure admitting or justifying his actions. Still it's a good book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    Expertly done

    One of the most accurate, fun to read and nail biting suspense filled books you will ever read. Make sure to pick up DARK FIRE and SOVEREIGN after you finish this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2005

    A book to share

    He¿s a lawyer appointed by Thomas Cromwell the vicar-general of King Henry VIII to solve the crime of a commissioner. His name Matthew Shardlake, hunchback and loyal, his helper Mark Poer, handsome. England 1537 the conflict between the Church and King Henry VII. Division between those loyal to the church and those loyal to the king. On his search for the truth at Scarnsea he finds out that there was not only one murder but more and were covered. He questions himself if he should stay loyal to the church or the king. His life becomes in danger while he stuck between four walls and a mystery to solve. I recommend this book if you enjoy mysteries and enjoy the subject of church vs. king. To read this book you have to have patience because at first it¿s boring but then things start to clear out. I was satisfy with the book because I basically knew most of the historical information. I didn¿t like the beginning of the book because it was too long the way he described things was confusing. If you can keep up with the book you in good shape, because it¿s all about patience and understanding. What caught my attention was the way he made a disable person be the protagonist, showing the reader that in life there is no obstacles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2004

    More, more and more!

    I am a history major and read a great many mysteries. One or two factual errors and I close the book. Dissolution was superb and cost the better part of a night's sleep as I could not put it down. I passed it along to my two history major children who also loved it. We need LOTS more from this author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    Terrific 'cozy' mystery

    A very impressive first novel by C. J. Sansom. 'Dissolution' is a wonderfully crafted work. In the true nature of a cozy mystery, the setting is exotic (1537, Henry VIII's and Lord Thomas Cromwell's England), and the mystery is self-contained within a small community (Scarnsea Abbey). The protagonist (Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback) and his assistant (Mark Poer) are both colorful and flawed. Sansom uses description expertly without incorporating graphic detail designed only to shock the reader. It is a novel written to inspire thought more than to thrill. Sansom has done an impressive job of bringing alive the Reformation and the politics surrounding the collapse of the Roman Catholic Church in England and mingling the history with a superb mystery. I look forward to reading future works by C. J. Sansom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2003

    A Murder & Mayhem Book Club review

    The time of the Reformation (1536-1540); King Henry VIII sets to his vicar general Thomas Cromwell the task of dissolving the intricate feudal network of the Catholic Church in order to install the newly formed Protestant Church of England (the Anglican faith). It is a time of both fear and change. The common people have reason to fear the representatives of both churches, and England is divided into the followers of Cromwell (whom friends of which wish to profit from the cheap acquisition of land previously allocated to the wealthy abbots and their monasteries) and of the followers of the old faith in all its Latin pomposity and remoteness from the masses. The outspoken are accused of treason and informers abound in this period of religious uncertainty. Ordered to investigate the murder of one of Cromwell's commissioners at a Benedictine monastery, lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant are sent to the dying port town of Scarnsea on the Sussex coast. Here the monks dominate the town, and the resentment of the village folk is one of the reasons Cromwell wishes to keep the news of the murder from both the public and the King. A discreet inquiry is needed while pursuing the 'surrender' of the wealthy monastery to the crown. Shardlake is a true believer of the new faith and religious reform but as secrets of the monastery are brought to light, he begins to doubt the integrity of the cause, and of its instigators. Quite simply, this was a terrific book. It is a magnet to your hands, and not entirely because it is an extremely engaging murder mystery that follows the winning formula of clues, betrayals, threats to the investigator etc. It is the age, the life of England that is so beautifully and intricately portrayed that it does truly leap off the pages and into the room. This book would rapidly become a favourite to anyone who enjoys historicals and a little crossing of the genre boundaries. Never let this book out of your house! == Andrea Thompson

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This book was good, enjoyed the storyline.

    This book was good, enjoyed the storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Tudors and mysteries.

    What's not to like? More accurately a comissioner from Thomas Cromwell's staff is the main character.

    Good period description.

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  • Posted July 21, 2012

    This is the book that got me hooked on C.J. Sansom titles...trul

    This is the book that got me hooked on C.J. Sansom titles...truly excellent. One of my favorite authors and Shardlake is one of my favorite characters!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    Highly recommend = good story.

    Takes one to Tudor England with views on relationship of the crown and the church and all the nuances that brings.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Best mystery I've read in quite a while

    Similar to "Name of the Rose" in many ways, this provides a glimpse into Tudor England that combines historical setting, good plot, interesting characters and even some philosophy into a very strong package.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    well crafted historical novel & a mystery too

    Great series. An easy way to expand historical understanding

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    A Wonderful Read

    I love historical mysteries and this book by C.J. Sansom is more than satisfying. Bravo to Mr. Sansom for using a lead character who is intelligent, moral and expressive. I enjoyed the depth of the lead character's personality and how society relates to him and his uniqueness. I so loved this book that I went on to read Dark Fire and enjoyed it equally as much as this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2008

    A fine read

    I loved this book from start to finish. I've tried reading other mystery genre such as Caldwell but they're just too silly. I find medieval mysteries amongst the very best and this one is right up there with Peters, Tremayne, Frazier and Jecks, Robb and Knight. I hope to see more from this author, and more of Master Shardlake.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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