Dissolution : A Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery

4.07 (28,117 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 protege 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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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • Penguin Books
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0142004308
  • 9780142004302
  • 136,827

About C J Sansom

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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Review quote

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)
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Rating details

28,117 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 36% (10,243)
4 41% (11,426)
3 18% (5,106)
2 4% (1,028)
1 1% (314)

Our customer reviews

"Dissolution" is a grand mix of tension, historical accuracy and superb writing style. Sansom brilliantly captures the sense of tension and uncertainty that follows the grand intellectual question of the time - the break down of the power of the Catholic Church in Tudor England and the human tragedy, corruption and the human tragedy associated with the transfer of enormous wealth and power. His characters are crisply drawn and equally likeable and repulsive. Highly recommended.show more
by john crawford
The main plot is very much Agatha Christie-esque. A murder has happened inside a closed circle of a monastery and a hero must find out who did it. As days go by, more people end up murdered and while there are less suspects he's still yet to find out who's doing all the killing and soon finds himself as a potential target. Will the killer get him first or will he find the killer first? While it may sound intriguing (and I think that with a lot of changes this could've been a pretty good novel) the plot drags for most of the book. The main character shows a lack of detective skills and/or planning. He notices something at the very start and makes a mental plan of checking it out, but he doesn't come to that until a couple of days later. In the meanwhile he goes out of the monastery and visits the nearby town, makes endless and worthless chatter, both inside and outside the monastery... And what's even more annoying is that the book actually becomes pretty good and its pace picks up considerable after he finally gets back to what he noticed on his first or second day there. The historic setting in which the novel takes place (the Church reform in England) adds another layer to the story, but I'm not convinced it actually adds enough to justify itself. The plot is intertwined and rooted into the setting, but with a couple of tweaks it is still a story that could have worked if it was set 100, 200, 300 years earlier or later, doesn't really matter. What's also one of the negative sides of this book is the writing. This is author's first book, so hopefully his writing style evolves, but he's very much pedestrian in his descriptions and they the story unfolds. The main characters, whose view we follow, is poorly developed. But as I said. The novel does pick up a lot in the final pages and I liked the twist at the end. Which is why I'm willing to give the sequel a chance.show more
by Josip Malenica
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