Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake Series #1)

( 61 )


From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series

Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south ...

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From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series

Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s feared vicar general, summons fellow reformer Matthew Shardlake to lead the inquiry. Shardlake and his young protégé uncover evidence of sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason, and when two other murders are revealed, they must move quickly to prevent the killer from striking again.

A "remarkable debut" (P. D. James), Dissolution introduces a thrilling historical series that is not to be missed by fans of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page. With his remarkable debut, C. J. Sansom can lay claim to a place among the most distinguished of modern historical novelists." —P. D. James

"Sansom seems to have been born with, or instinctively acquired, that precious balance of creativity and research that lets a mystery set in another time walk a delicate line between history and humanity." —Chicago Tribune

"With this cunningly plotted and darkly atmospheric effort, Sansom proves himself to be a promising newcomer." —Publishers Weekly

"This is a humdinger of a whodunnit. Read it!" —Colin Dexter

Publishers Weekly
Murders on the grounds of a monastery, 16th-century intrigue, an unconventional sleuth-readers might wonder if this is a knock-off Name of the Rose set two centuries later, but Sansom's debut is a compelling historical mystery in its own right, with fewer pyrotechnics and plenty of period detail. It is 1537; the English Reformation is in full swing; and Lord Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII's vicar-general, is busy shutting down papist institutions. When one of his commissioners is beheaded at a remote Benedictine monastery, Cromwell dispatches a second emissary, hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake, to investigate the murder. What Shardlake and his companion, eager young Mark Poer, discover is a quietly bubbling cesspool of corruption, lust and avarice. The scope of the investigation quickly expands when a novice is poisoned and Shardlake finds the remains of a girl who served the monks in the monastery pond. Shardlake presses on by testing the alibis of the various corrupt monks, but Poer's objectivity is compromised when he becomes involved with the girl's successor, a bright, attractive woman named Alice Fewterer. As the investigation unfolds, Shardlake survives a murder attempt, and finally returns to London to tie his findings to higher-level intrigue. Sansom paints a vivid picture of the corruption that plagued England during the reign of Henry VIII, and the wry, rueful Shardlake is a memorable protagonist, a compassionate man committed to Cromwell's reforms, but increasingly doubtful of the motives of his fellow reformers. With this cunningly plotted and darkly atmospheric effort, Sansom proves himself to be a promising newcomer. (Apr. 28) Forecast: Readers who want something a step up in complexity from Ellis Peters's Cadfael series will find this satisfying fare. Foreign rights have already been sold in England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Spain, and Sansom will be introduced in the U.S. with a six-city author tour. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A historical mystery set in England in 1537, this first novel chronicles Vicar General Thomas Cromwell's aggressive efforts to close down monasteries throughout the realm. Ardent reformist lawyer Matthew Shardlake, rejected for the priesthood because of his hunched back and now a bitter enemy of the Catholic Church, aids Cromwell in his mission. His latest task is to discover who brutally murdered a fellow commissioner at a remote monasery. While investigating the slaying, he is also charged with "encouraging" the abbot to dissolve his monastery voluntarily. Naturally, solving the murder is far from straightforward, and terrible weather, uncooperative monks, and a distractingly attractive female servant bogs down the investigation. With a Ph.D. in history and a background in law, Sansom clearly harbors a deep affection for and knowledge of this historical period. However, his novel is unrelentingly grim in tone, as the reader is forced to plod along with Shardlake and the other mostly unlikable characters. Although the novel can be superficially compared with the historical mysteries of Iain Pears and Umberto Eco, their caliber of writing is much higher than Sansom's. Appropriate for large public libraries only. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.]-Laurel Bliss, Yale Arts Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A brilliant lawyer investigates murder in a monastery that's under attack by Henry VIII's greedy forces of secularism. It's 1537, and Dr. Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer operating on the fringes of the rapacious Tudor court, has been handed a case that may advance his career but is more likely to sink it. Thomas Cromwell, Henry's powerful and ruthless vicar general, has charged Shardlake with the investigation of a grisly crime on what should be holy ground: the Benedictine monastery in Scarnsea, Sussex. A lawyer sent down previously to lean on Scarnsea's abbot about a possible signing over of the monastery to the crown lost his head. With a sword. Shardlake, a great brain in a twisted body (he's a hunchback), can't say no. Having risen by his wits to a profitable legal career and ownership of a comfortable house in the city, he is indebted to his monarch's machinery. Besides, he, like Cromwell and, supposedly, the king, is firmly committed to the great religious reforms that have all but taken the country to war with the once supremely rich and powerful monasteries. Accompanied by his young clerk Mark, Shardlake plods through the frozen countryside to Scarnsea. What he finds is an institution despised by its neighbors, depleted by the reforms, demoralized by revelations of sodomy and unchasteness, and thoroughly spooked by the decapitation of the royal emissary. Understandably suspicious of nearly everyone, Shardlake comes to rely warily on the monastery's Moorish medic and becomes unhappily attracted to Alice, the comely and clever serving girl. Grilling his suspects like a modern detective, he sifts through the inevitable red herrings, turns up a new corpse, and dodges death by fallingstatuary. Handsome Mark, meanwhile, is getting lustful looks from the master of music and growing more familiar with Alice than suits the lawyer. And London is pressing for the case to be wrapped up. The right way. Spooky atmosphere and a wealth of fascinating historical tidbits suffer from rather grinding detective work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142004302
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Series: Matthew Shardlake Series, #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 75,801
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

C. J. Sansom, the internationally bestselling author of the novels Winter in Madrid and Dominion and the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series, earned a Ph.D. in history and was a lawyer before becoming a full-time writer.

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide


"We had once believed with Erasmus that faith and charity would be enough to settle religious differences between men." —Matthew Shardlake

England, 1537. The Reformation has become a reign of terror and Catholics must denounce the pope or face the rack in the Tower of London. Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell are dissolving the network of monasteries that, in many cases, were guilty of much wrongdoing. When a commissioner sent to investigate the St. Donatus Monastery is murdered—"his head cut clean off" in the building's kitchen—Cromwell calls upon Matthew Shardlake, a remarkably astute hunchback, to solve the crime. Along with his young apprentice Mark Poer, Shardlake accepts the mission. In bitter cold, they set out on horseback to the ancient stone building with fear in their hearts. Would they be living among a cloistered madman? Was this a ritual killing? If not, why was the church altar desecrated with a dead cock? Or had that been a diversion to confuse the investigators? Had the commissioner discovered a secret that cost him his life? Should Shardlake and Mark uncover a similar secret, will they be the next victims?

Upon arriving at the monastery, Shardlake and Mark meet a host of peculiar men, each one presenting unique challenges to the seemingly impossible task of finding Commissioner Singleton's murderer. Brother Guy, the infirmarian, is austere yet warm. Despite the brother's refusal to renounce the pope, Shardlake is drawn to his healing abilities and earnest personality. The stuttering Brother Edwig manages the monastery finances. He's tight with St. Donatus' money and keeps records of land purchases under lock and key. Shardlake finds Prior Mortimus, the disciplinarian, to be a despicable individual who embodies the hypocritical nature of the Catholic Church. Far from being in control of his immoral urges, Mortimus' brutal punishments often land other brothers in the infirmary—or in a coffin. Brother Gabriel, who is responsible for the music and aesthetics of the church, is morally upright—unless in the company of attractive young men. And lurking around the property on crutches is an emaciated, insane Carthusian monk, his body and spirit broken by a harrowing period spent in London's infamous Tower. In addition to these, the feeble Abbot Fabian, and various aging monks, there is Alice. The only woman living on the premises, she works alongside Brother Guy in the infirmary. Intelligent, willful, and beautiful, Shardlake and Poer both take her not just into their confidence but also into their hearts. Shardlake, however, is no ordinary man—he is a hunchback. Painfully aware of his physical deformity, he watches helplessly as Alice's relationship with Poer deepens into a romantic affair.

The secret passages that Shardlake and Poer discover behind the walls of the monastery serve as an apt metaphor for the mysteries the two must solve—and are a potent reminder that nothing is as it appears. The brothers are dropping like flies, and Shardlake is painfully aware that his life may be next. When the deranged Carthusian mockingly reveals the identity of the famous prisoner kept in the cell next to his in the Tower of London, Shardlake must confront a degree of moral decrepitude that challenges his faith in the church, his country, and even his own instincts. Are the three people Shardlake trusts most—Alice, Mark, and Brother Guy—his biggest danger? Forging ahead to resolve the bloody mess at St. Donatus, he knows the consequences of his investigation go beyond the dissolution of the monastery. When Shardlake returns to London, he is a disillusioned man who "in [his] willful blindness has refused to see what was before [his] eyes." Readers, however, are left eager for another chance to meet this exceptionally rich and challenging protagonist.


C. J. Sansom earned a Ph.D. in history and, before becoming a full-time writer, was a lawyer. Dissolution is his first novel. He lives in Sussex, England, where he is working on further Matthew Shardlake mysteries.


What inspired the creation of Matthew Shardlake? Why did you afflict him with this particular physical deformity?

I wanted to write a novel about the dissolution of the monasteries, a very dramatic episode in English history whose dramatic potential I thought had never been fully exposed—perhaps because of the complexities of theology and politics that were involved. To interpret the time to modern readers, I needed a protagonist who was "apart" from his time—through intellectual rigor and honesty, but also in more subtle ways. Or at least I think that was what was going on in my subconscious, because Shardlake and Mark riding through bad weather together was a picture that appeared in my head fully formed one day. I don't know why I gave him the hunchback, perhaps it symbolizes the weight he carries as a person of integrity in that grim time.

Considering the large, if confined, cast of characters and the intricate plot twists, how did you keep the narrative on course? Discuss your method of writing such a novel. Did you have an outline? Were you aware of the outcome from the beginning?

I believe very strongly in writing to a tight structure, especially in a thriller—though I know not all thriller writers do that. My background as a lawyer has something to do with my schematic approach, I'm sure. I wrote Chapter One, then did an overall "structure plan" that changed and developed as I went on, reviewing what is revealed to whom at what stage. But I don't put the novel in a straitjacket—characters have to have room to develop. For example, I originally intended the abbot to be the murderer, then realized he wouldn't have had the stomach for murder, but the bursar would. But I had the idea of a female killer, and the notion that Mark would betray Shardlake, from the start.

How did you make the transition from lawyer to writer? Do the two careers require types of logical thinking that compliment each other?

I had always wanted to write novels, but not coming from a wealthy background I needed to work for a living and had little energy to write at the end of a busy day—a common story I know! In 2000 I decided to take a year off and have a real go at writing a novel, and the rest is history, or at least historical novels. As I said above, I think the habit of organizing large bodies of complex material, always with presentation as a factor, which I had for years as a solicitor working in civil litigation, has influenced my way of working. And my first incarnation, as a history student at university helped with the research!

Why did you choose to write about this particular time in England? Do you think it is the most important era of English history, a time that lends itself particularly well to drama, or a combination of these things?

I think the sixteenth century is a fascinating period in British and European history—the intellectual framework of medieval Europe was torn apart and the modern world began. I wouldn't say it was the "most important" period of English history—the Industrial Revolution shaped modern life far more. And I am interested in other periods, having just finished a novel set around the Spanish Civil War.

Did you, at any point, envision Shardlake and Alice becoming romantically involved? Why or why not?

No. I didn't think someone as young and emotional as Alice could ever be interested in Shardlake, and I see him as the sort of detective, like Inspector Morse, who doesn't have a lot of success with the ladies—I don't mean because of his hump, which would not have been that uncommon in England then—more his lack of self-esteem. But he does have a serious, reciprocated romantic interest in the sequel, though I won't say whether or not it ends happily . . .

What aspect of Shardlake's personality do you empathize with the most? Do you imbue your characters with parts of yourself? If so, is this a phenomenon that, as a writer, you don't notice till the novel is completed?

I think most major characters are either parts of oneself or parts of people that have made an impact on you, for good or ill. Beyond that, I don't know, because I find that mostly my major characters are formed subconsciously, and often take on a life of their own on the page and move away from what was planned—like the abbot, mentioned above.

Which part of Dissolution was the most time consuming: the writing or the research?

The research took about two to three months—I was lucky because I knew the period well and needed only to research the dissolution. Writing was odd—the first half took six months. Then, after a crisis of confidence, I decided to just bash on and finish and I did the second half in six weeks. I don't think it suffered, which is odd. The revision is what takes a lot of time and is the least enjoyable part, but it has to be done and knocked into the best shape possible for the readers!

Other than Matthew Shardlake, Brother Guy stood out as an individual with a fascinating past. Is it possible that he will reappear in another novel?

It is. He does. He is the only character from Dissolution, apart from Shardlake and Cromwell, to appear in the sequel, Dark Fire.

From which authors have you learned the most about writing?

I have always had very catholic tastes. John le Carré, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, and John Steinbeck spring to mind.

Do you have further plans for Shardlake? If so, what are they?

The sequel, Dark Fire, finds him once again reluctantly involved in a mission for Cromwell. It is set entirely in London, in 1540, three years later. I will shortly be starting research for a third Shardlake novel, set during Henry VIII's royal progress to York in 1541.


  • Was Matthew Shardlake a truly naïve character, or was he simply in a deep state of denial with regard to Thomas Cromwell's style of governing?
  • What feelings did the author's depiction of the dissolution of the monasteries evoke in you? Were you conflicted? Did you empathize with the brothers?
  • Can you imagine what your life might have been like during this period of history? Elaborate on the different ways in which the author evoked Tudor England, particularly London.
  • Do you think an individual with a humpback could have risen to a commissioner's position at a time when his physical handicap was—to many people—bad luck? Why do you think the author chose to saddle Shardlake with this deformity? Did you feel sorry for him? Why or why not?
  • Did you feel sexual tension between Alice and Shardlake? If so, was it authentic or do you think Alice manufactured a faux physical attraction to manipulate Shardlake? Cite examples from the novel that support your theory.
  • Choose one word, as quickly as possible, to describe each of the three main characters: Shardlake, Mark Poer, and Alice. Once you have done this, elaborate on the complexities, or lack of complexities, of these individuals.
  • How effective was the author in maintaining suspense? At what point in the novel did you have an inkling as to who Singleton's murderer was, and when did you see the murders as separate events as opposed to being committed by one culprit?
  • A "red herring" is a device used in mysteries to throw the reader off the track of the true perpetrator. What, or who, were Mr. Sansom's red herrings?
  • What characters from Dissolution would you be interested in seeing again in future Matthew Shardlake mysteries? Why?
  • Did you feel relief upon learning that Mark Poer and Alice survived? Why or why not?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 61 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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  • 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 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2011


    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


    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 March 26, 2015

    Loved the book.

    Loved the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2015

    Wonderful series!!!!

    Wonderful series!!!!

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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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