Lamentation: (Matthew Shardlake #6)
I haven't read all of the books in this series, but the ones I've read have been excellent, and this one kept me fascinated throughout.
Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and hunchback, has seen many changes during the reign of Henry VIII. Currently heretics and Protestants with radical views are being hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake even as the vicious Henry's health declines. As the book opens, Shardlake is forced to attend the burning of Anne Askew and two other heretics, a gruesome task.
When summoned to the aid of Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth and final wife, Shardlake is enlisted to discover a manuscript the queen has written that could easily result in a charge of treason--and there are many who hope to have that happen. The corrupt and complicated atmosphere of the court is a treacherous mine-field that even those of highest position must navigate. Not only the queen, but her family, friends, and sympathizers could be brought down, and finding someone to trust in this maelstrom of conflicting religious and political views becomes a formidable undertaking.
Shardlake, whose attachment to Catherine Parr is a kind of unrequited love, will put himself and his friends in danger as he devotes his energies to protecting the queen. (Whenever I read about the Tudor period, I'm again aghast at the intricacies and danger associated with the time. Bloody Mary, Henry's daughter, is well known for her persecution of Protestants, but often overlooked is Henry's persecution of both Catholics and Protestants.) Almost everyone at court looked for political advancement, yet any misstep could lead to death, not only of the accused, but of family and friends.
As usual, Sansom does a terrific job with historical facts and atmosphere, with well-rounded characters, and with interesting subplots. Highly recommended.
Historical Mystery. February 24, 2015. Print version: 656 pages.