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Heartsone is C. J. Sansom's fifith spellbinding mystery in C. J. Sansom's number one bestselling Shardlake series, for fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.

'When it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival' - Sunday Times
'Sansom has the trick of writing an enthralling narrative. Like Hilary Mantel, he produces densely textured historical novels that absorb their readers in another time' - Andrew Taylor, Spectator

England, 1545: England is at war. Henry VIII's invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel. As the English fleet gathers at Portsmouth, the country raises the largest militia army it has ever seen. The King has debased the currency to pay for the war, and England is in the grip of soaring inflation and economic crisis.

Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Asked to investigate claims of "monstrous wrongs" committed against a young ward of the court, which have already involved one mysterious death, Shardlake and his assistant Barak journey to Portsmouth.

Once arrived, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing to become a war zone; and Shardlake takes the opportunity to also investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettiplace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam. The emerging mysteries around the young ward, and the events that destroyed Ellen's family nineteen years before, involve Shardlake in reunions both with an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne. Events will converge on board one of the King's great warships, primed for battle in Portsmouth harbour . . .

A bestselling phenomenon, the Shardlake series is perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light. Continue the gripping historical series with Lamentation and Tombland.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 768 pages
  • 131 x 198 x 46mm | 534g
  • Pan Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New Edition
  • 1447285875
  • 9781447285878
  • 15,451

Review quote

A triumph of Tudor history and mystery. Heartstone, as bristling as its predecessors with outlandish deaths, suspicious behaviour, jeopardy and plots of fiendish deviousness, plunges you into catastrophic upheavals caused by Henry's foreign policy. Throughout, Heartstone is a rousing tour de force of period re-creation, testifying to Samson's fascination with history...Like all the Shardlake books, Heartstone winningly shows Sansom's crafty flair for hoodwinking even the most hawk-eyed reader. -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times Culture * Murder, mystery and turbulent history are expertly twisted together in Sansom's fifth Tudor crime novel. * Sunday Times Culture 'Must Reads' * . . . the pace and tension hot up splendidly as Shardlake's inquiries take him to the Hampshire home of a family with a great deal to hide. A wholly unexpected twist takes us to a superb denouement aboard the doomed warship Mary Rose - terrific stuff, for both fans and newcomers to the series. -- Laura Wilson * The Guardian * C. J. Sansom has created a convincingly realistic Tudor detective in Matthew Shardlake. He lives and breathes in an utterly convincing world, drawing the reader into the darker corners of history. -- Philippa Gregory, author of The Other Boleyn Girl Sansom's latest virtuoso twisting together of Tudor history and mystery is set in 1545, when Henry VIII's fraught nation faced imminent invasion by the French. Amid a tour de force re-creation of that jittery time (culminating in terrifically atmospheric scenes aboard the pride of the king's war fleet, the Mary Rose), a cunningly crafted whodunit plot irresistibly bristles with skulduggery, suspicious behaviour and sinister deaths. -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times Culture * If you have a taste for period novels that marry gamey locales with incident-stuffed plotting, C. J. Sansom's books featuring his hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake are essential reading . . . Shardlake's battle with chicanery in every echelon of Tudor England is riveting. -- Barry Forshaw * Independent Best Books for Christmas * In my review of the previous Shardlake novel, Revelation, in these pages I described it as the best yet. Well, Heartstone is better . . . Sansom is now so settled in his milieu and at home with his characters that the story canters along effortlessly, while Tudor England is recreated with such attention to detail the reader feels propelled back in time. * Tribune * The best novel in this richly entertaining series . . . History never seemed so real. * New York Times * Fans will need no introduction to Matthew Shardlake, the lawyer embroiled in dark secrets during the reign of Henry VIII. Newcomers can discover why Sansom's Tudor mysteries exert such a pull. * The Independent * A virtuoso twisting together of Tudor history and murder mystery that bristles with skulduggery, suspicious behaviour and sinister deaths. * Sunday Times Culture *
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About C. J. Sansom

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. Sansom is the bestselling author of the acclaimed Shardlake series, the Spanish Civil War thriller Winter in Madrid and the lauded alternative history novel Dominion. He lives in Sussex.
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Rating details

14,076 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
5 48% (6,780)
4 39% (5,426)
3 12% (1,644)
2 1% (197)
1 0% (29)
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