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Monday, June 29, 2009


Sansom C.J. Revelation.

I've only read one other of these novels featuring Matthew Shardlake, but I really like the series and intend to read them all eventually.

Set in Tudor England, the first novel Dissolution deals with Henry VIII's determination to dissolve the monasteries and rid England of all papist taint. This novel takes place after the dissolution of the monasteries, but during a time when Henry seems to want "his" church to be Catholic without the pope. The problem is that the reformists (many of them having become zealous radicals) have no intention of going back, and Henry can be brutal concerning resistance to his will.

When Matthew Shardlake's good friend is murdered, he promises the widow that he will discover the murderer. What he doesn't realize at the time is that this is not the first murder and that he will be drawn again into political and religious matters that can prove deadly.

Sansom has the ability to bring the period and his characters to life even as the reader discovers much about history. I thoroughly enjoy the characters and the history of the turbulent times.

I had a few quibbles about the plot, but that didn't stop me from becoming completely immersed in the novel, the characters, and the danger of trying to walk the fine line between integrity and self-preservation. I really want to read the other two novels in this series!

(Interesting historic characters involved in the novel: Thomas Cranmer, Edward & Thomas Seymour, Catherine Parr; historic tidbits about the reform movement, what became of the monks, Bedlam, and false teeth.)

Other Reviews: Nancy Pearl and Books Please. If you reviewed it, let me know and I'll post a link.

Fiction. Historical fiction/mystery. 2009. 550 pages.


  1. This review definitely piques my interest. I really got into the HBO series The Tudors this last year. I don't normally watch much TV at all, but I think it is the historical aspect that really drew me in. I love this time period. I may just have to check out this series. Thanks for a nice review.

  2. This is one of my favorite historical mystery series, although I need to get caught up with it!

  3. I have one of the author's books waiting in my immediate TBR pile. I've really taken a shine to historical mysteries. This one sounds especially intriguing.

  4. Lisa - Sansom is an excellent historical novelist. If you enjoy the period, I think you'll enjoy Sansom's novels!

    Cathy - I haven't read the 2nd and 3rd in the series, but plan to do that soon! The characters and the historical detail are very good, aren't they?

    LF - I agree with Cathy, this is one of my favorite historical mystery series, too. Which one do you have your TBR pile?

  5. Yes, indeed. Sansom does an excellent job with his characterizations and the historical detail!

  6. I am surprisingly in the mood for a historical mystery - and the Tudors sounds perfect. Thanks for the recommendation!