I’m so excite… I have just seen that the author C.J. Sansom is publishing Lamentation,  the next in his series of novels about Shardlake, the Tudor detective. Actually he is a lawyer but the legal business he has to deal with usually involves some crime or mystery which he has to unpick. The first novel, Dissolution is set in 1537; although there is a crime at the heart of the plot, this exciting novel is also a political thriller, set in a very different world from our own, a very frightening world of plots, intrigues,informers, spies, religious suspicion and intolerance… actually, come to think about it, maybe it’s not so different from our modern world!

The second novel in the series, Dark Fire is set three years later in 1540; when I read it the first time, the ending was so gripping and exciting it read it too quickly and had to reread it, to follow exactly what had happened. This novel is partly about a young woman accused of a dreadful murder, but it is also a story which has resonances today, with secret weapons, dreadful weapons of massive power and destructive force.

Sovereign is a fascinating glimpse into the Tudor world of Henry VIII when the king embarks on a huge Progress, a tour of his realm, and in this case, the king and his court and all the hundreds of servants, baggage trains, soldiers and officials travel up to York. As Shardlake is the hero I knew he would come through the dire situations in which he finds himself; however, the story line is so good and once again the writing is so gripping, that I was on the edge of my seat (well, sitting bolt upright in bed) because he was in such terrible danger and such horrible things were about to happen to him.

The last novel, Heartstone, is a tremendous work; magnificent. It is a very long book, but there is not a single word which is unnecessary.The plot is complex and there are several sub-plots, but never once did I get in a muddle, nor did I get bored, the only anxiety was that I knew I would have to finish the book and then my life would be empty! I will give nothing away, except that the sinking of Henry’s great warship, the Mary Rose features in it. Again, there is no doubt what is going to happen, but the reader is carried along by the sheer power of Sansom’s story-telling.

I don’t normally like historical novels; Sansom conjures the scenes of life five hundred years ago so brilliantly, and so lightly, and in such a balanced way that the text is informative and yet the reader never feels burden by exposition. The characters are realistic and believable, and with all shades of personality. I shall rush to the book shop on Monday and order it!

  • Dissolution
  • Dark Fire
  • Sovereign
  • Revelation
  • Heartstone
  • Lamentation




    1. Lois

      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! I hope so – because then you have four more books in the series… and each is different but equally interesting and exciting!


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