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- Publisher: Pan Books
- Format: Paperback | 592 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 198mm x 40mm | 440g
- Publication date: 1 May 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0330447106
- ISBN 13: 9780330447102
- Sales rank: 4,117
Spring, 1543. King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, whom he wants for his sixth wife. Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court are watching keenly, for Lady Catherine is known to have reformist sympathies. Matthew Shardlake, meanwhile, is working on the case of a teenage boy who has been placed in the Bedlam insane asylum, before his terrifying religious mania leads to him being burned as a heretic. When an old friend is horrifically murdered Shardlake vows to bring the killer to justice. His search leads him to Cranmer and Catherine Parr -- and to the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation. As London's Bishop Bonner prepares a purge of Protestants Shardlake, together with his assistant, Jack Barak, and his friend, Guy Malton, investigate a series of horrific murders which are already bringing frenzied talk of witchcraft and demonic possession -- for what else would the Tudor mind make of a serial killer ...?
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C. J. Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a Ph.D. in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Sussex.
By Esther Steele 25 Jun 2013
Matthew Shardlake and his side-kick Jack Barak are alive and well and living in every political office in Ireland, well, probably the world, yeah, the world, today. But thankfully, C.J. Sansom, the genius, placed them in the 16th.Century, and when you open any one of the stories from the Matthew Shardlake series within a few pages you are there with them, in a time that horrifies even me, a lowly Irish peasant, and I wonder, how the hell did anyone ever survive the monstrous corruption, the filth, the disease, the absolute poverty, the famines and the "the plague" that cursed not only the 16th.Century but just about any century one cares to mention before and after this particular time. But it is King Harry's reign that grips us in these books and the similarity of his courtiers and present day politicians is, believe me, astonishing, and I say that having worked within the Irish Parliament for a long number of years. Okay, we don't consign the enemy to the fires and gallows as described so jaw-droppingly casual in the Shardlake series, but if they could, (the politicians) they would.
Hurry up with the next Shardlake, please, C.J.. I began by saying I love Matthew. Now I need to see how he progresses into old age but mostly I want to see the demise of King Harry and the hopeful downfall of Richard Rich. I hate that man. Reminds me of the former Taoiseach......no, can't say that.
By Penny Cunningham 15 Dec 2011
I have all the Shardlake books to date, and this is by far the best! I loved it! Its takes place in London in Henry Tudors' time, and is about the race to find a "serial killer" as we would call them today. Good upright people are being killed off in absolutely dreadful, mind-boggling ways!! A religious fanatic is following the book of revelation, killing people to bring about the end of the world! Great stuff, very well written. Had me guessing right to the end. A fabulous read.
By Janice Margaret Warne 30 Dec 2010
C.J.Sansom not only writes a great thriller, but allows the reader to enter the hazardous world of Henry V111's England, where anyone of any class in society could face a barbarous death, simply by choosing which way they practice religion!
Sansom's descriptive writing is engaging, informative, and one feels a sympathy for Shardlake, the ethical lawyer, and the situations he faces! The role of the Monarch in these series, is one of unquestioning power and greed, and the populace are divided by religious confusion.The treatment of the mentally ill is also touched on, and a wonderful look at clothing, manners, and even food of the time.
I believe these books would make a marvellous Tele series, or film, (in the UK, please! )
By Esther Cohen 06 May 2010
I just can't get enough of Matthew Shardlake, the hunch-backed lawyer with a warm heart and a sharp mind. This is yet another blindingly exciting book set in Henry VIII's England. It evokes the sinister beliefs of the times, and makes you glad that you're in the 21st century, yes really! The history is fascinating, mixed with a really cracking crime thriller, can CJ Sansom do no wrong? It seems not. Highly highly recommended.
Praise for the Matthew Shardlake series: "Remarkable. . . . The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page."--"P.D. James ""Terrific . . . a remarkable, imaginative feat. It is a first-rate murder mystery and one of the most atmospheric historical novels I've read in years."--"The Mail on Sunday ""Historical crime fiction is sometimes little more than a modern adventure in fancy dress. Not so the novels of C. J. Sansom, whose magnificent books set in the reign of Henry VIII bring to life the sounds and smells of Tudor England . . . Dark Fire" "is a creation of real brilliance."--"The Sunday Times "(UK)