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In March 1543, while London buzzes about Henry VIII's campaign to win newly widowed Lady Catherine Parr for his sixth wife, hunchbacked barrister Matthew Shardlake has grimmer matters on his mind in Sansom's gripping fourth Tudor historical (after 2007's Sovereign). Not only has his close friend and colleague Roger Elliard been savagely murdered but Shardlake finds himself assigned the incendiary case of a young religious fanatic committed to Bedlam. Learning of a link between Elliard's death and a previous slaying, one touching Lady Catherine's household, he reluctantly agrees to join the top-secret probe by his mentor, Archbishop Cranmer-instantly plunging both himself and his intrepid assistant, Jack Barak, into a maelstrom of political intrigue, spiritual strife and personal peril. With its wealth of period detail, compelling characters and bold, fast-moving plot, this may be the most rousing Shardlake adventure so far. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.