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Following on from Dissolution and Dark Fire, Sovereign is the third gripping historical novel 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

Autumn, 1541: King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission of his rebellious subjects in York.

Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as assisting with legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission for the Archbishop Cranmer - to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator being returned to London for interrogation.

But the murder of a local glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret papers which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead to Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age . . .

Continue the number one bestselling historical series with Revelation, Heartstone, Lamentation and Tombland.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 688 pages
  • 132 x 199 x 44mm | 477g
  • Pan Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1447285859
  • 9781447285854
  • 26,608

Review Text

I have enjoyed C. J. Sansom's series of historical novels set in Tudor England progressively more and more. Sovereign, following Dissolution and Dark Fire, is the best so far . . . Sansom has the perfect mixture of novelistic passion and historical detail. Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year
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Review quote

CJ Sansom's new Matthew Shardlake adventure shows how far this series has developed since his first book. Sovereign is bigger in scope, more colourful, has a more complex plot and moves at a faster pace . . . This is a compelling read, vividly capturing the atmosphere of constant fear, as religious fervour and political ambition are expressed in cruelty and corruption. * Sunday Telegraph * This is an atmospheric thriller where velvet and silk hide putrescence, and beyond the grandeur of a Court lies a world where people rot alive or choke in deep mud. Sansom does a nice line in irony and savage humour, as well as the simple affections which keep people going in nightmarish times. -- Roz Kaveney * Time Out Book of the Week * Don't open this book if you have anything urgent pending. Its grip is so compulsive that, until you reach its final page, you'll have to be almost physically prised away from it. The latest in CJ Sansom's increasingly thrilling series of 16th-century crime mysteries, it pulls you like its predecessors, into a tortuous world of Tudor terror. -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times * Dissolution by C J Sansom was an impressive start to a historical fiction series featuring stubborn, admirable Tudor lawyer Matthew Shardlake. Sovereign is the third outing, and this series just gets better and better. * Bookseller * Sansom is excellent on contemporary horrors. This is no herbs-and-frocks version of Tudor England, but a remorseless portrait of a violent, partly lawless country . . . You can lose yourself in this world. -- Jane Jakeman * Independent * The best detective story I've read since The Murder of Roger Ackroyd . . . [a] devilishly ingenious whodunit . . . Sansom's description of the brutality of Tudor life is strong stuff, but he is a master storyteller. * Guardian * Sansom brings the colours, sights and sounds of Tudor England brilliantly into the imagination in this gripping historical novel. * Choice magazine * Sansom has a real knack for bringing the sights, sounds and smells of Tudor times to life and his evocation of a time when your fate could be decided on a whim and England was ruled by a bloated monster make you very glad indeed that, fascinating as it is, you'll never have to witness Shardlake's world first hand. * Northern Echo * Both marvellously exciting to read and a totally convincing evocation of England in the reign of Henry VIII. * Spectator, Books of the Year * A master class in age of political and religious convulsion is conjured up with thrilling immediacy. -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times * I was enthralled by Sovereign by C. J. Sansom, a novel combining detection with a brilliant description of Henry VIII's spectacular Progress to the North and its terrifying aftermath. -- P.D. James * Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year * A fine setting for crime fiction and CJ Sansom exploits it superbly . . . Never mind the crime: this is a terrific novel. -- Peter Green * TLS * A brilliant evocation of tyranny in Tudor England. * Literary Review * Third volume of CJ Sansom's deservedly popular Tudor detective series . . . Between them, Sansom and Starkey have the 16th century licked. * Independent * A dazzling conspiracy theory novel of the Tudor age. * Nottingham Evening Post * Not only a great detective novel but also a fabulous insight into the historical happenings of the Tudor period, this book is an absorbing read. * Tesco Magazine * Even if heart-pounding suspense and stomach-tightening tension were all Sansom's writing brought to the table, few would feel short-changed. Added to these gifts is a superb approximation of the crucible of fear, treachery and mistrust that was Tudor England, and a memorably blood-swollen portrait of the ogreish Henry's inhumane kingship. A parchment-turner, and a regal one at that. * Sunday Times * I have enjoyed C. J. Sansom's series of historical novels set in Tudor England progressively more and more. Sovereign, following Dissolution and Dark Fire, is the best so far . . . Sansom has the perfect mixture of novelistic passion and historical detail. -- Antonia Fraser * Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year *
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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

18,814 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 45% (8,505)
4 41% (7,735)
3 12% (2,192)
2 2% (290)
1 0% (92)
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