Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake Series #2)

Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake Series #2)

4.4 32
by C. J. Sansom
     
 

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Winner of the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, Dark Fire revisits acclaimed master of historical fiction C. J. Sansom's colorful and rapier-witted lawyer, Matthew Shardlake. Set in 1540, this beguiling tale of murder and mayhem is set against a rich backdrop of medieval London. Here, hunchbacked Matthew Shardlake is called upon to investigate the peculiar

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Overview

Winner of the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award, Dark Fire revisits acclaimed master of historical fiction C. J. Sansom's colorful and rapier-witted lawyer, Matthew Shardlake. Set in 1540, this beguiling tale of murder and mayhem is set against a rich backdrop of medieval London. Here, hunchbacked Matthew Shardlake is called upon to investigate the peculiar case of a young woman accused of murder.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Matthew Shardlake, the marvelous hunchbacked 16th-century attorney who first appeared in Sansom's Dissolution, returns in this spellbinding Tudor-era tale of murder, conspiracy and betrayal. Shardlake normally handles property cases and the occasional dangerous mission for Lord Thomas Cromwell, the king's high counselor. Now he is engaged to defend a young woman accused of a curious murder, and the case seems hopeless. The girl refuses to speak and, under English law, unless she offers a plea in court she will be slowly crushed to death. Cromwell offers Shardlake a two-week stay of execution if he will agree to undertake a secret mission. Desperate to save the girl's life, Shardlake agrees. Rumors abound of a new and terrifying weapon called Greek Fire, and Cromwell orders Shardlake to find it, along with its secret formula and the two alchemists who possess it. Before Shardlake can even speak to the alchemists, they are brutally murdered, the formula and Greek Fire go missing, and horror and death are unleashed. Fortunately, Shardlake is aided by Jack Barak, a capable rogue working for Cromwell, and his old friend, Guy Malton, a peculiar apothecary. Sansom's vivid portrayal of squalid, stinking, bustling London; the city's wealth and poverty; the brutality and righteousness of religious persecution; and the complexities of English law make this a suspenseful, colorful and compelling tale. Agent, Antony Topping. (Jan. 17) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tudor barrister Matthew Shardlake (Dissolution, 2003) plumbs the mysteries of Byzantine flame-throwing as he fights for the life of an accused murderess. The clever hunchbacked investigator is again dragged into the political machinations of Henry VIII's chief minister Thomas Cromwell when Shardlake's defense of Elizabeth Wentworth, a beautiful 18-year-old accused of murdering her young cousin Ralph, fails to move the judge. Elizabeth's refusal to speak or plea has resulted in her being sentenced to peine forte et dure, death by the slow imposition of rocks on her fragile young body. The horrible fate is postponed by the intervention of Lord Cromwell, who needs Shardlake's investigative skills and needs them now. Cromwell's stock with His Majesty plummeted when the king came face to face with his latest wife, Anne of Cleves, a hefty, un-lovely German protestant princess picked out by Cromwell. Now Cromwell's bitter enemy, the Catholic Duke of Norfolk, is dangling his young niece Catherine Howard before the easily distracted monarch. To regain the king's favor Cromwell has promised a demonstration of Greek Fire, a sort of Eastern Roman napalm, just the ticket to keep the French and Spanish at bay. Alas, the formula for Greek Fire, which had been in the hands of a shady solicitor and his brother, has gone missing, and bodies have started to drop. Cromwell teams the barrister with Jack Barak, a tough, trusted employee with little respect for lawyers. The seemingly ill-matched investigators start picking through all levels of London society, arriving ever just too late after pertinent murders and arson, dogged everywhere by a pair of singularly repulsive assassins. The usual Renaissance muckand stench are aggravated by the worst heat wave anyone can remember. And there is a bit of wistful romance for the lawyer who has no idea how attractive he is, handicap notwithstanding. Rich period detail and solid history underpin the totally imaginary Greek Fire business. Agent: Antony Topping/Greene & Heaton

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780330450782
Publisher:
Pan Macmillan
Publication date:
05/25/2007
Series:
Matthew Shardlake Series, #2
Pages:
608
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.60(d)

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