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This is the third volume in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series. While I felt that the first book in the series was first rate I was disappointed with the second book which, I felt, had little real plot and in which the identity of the murderer was fairly obvious. I had hoped that the third volume would be better and I was not disappointed.
The events of this book take place during the period when Catherine Howard was Queen and the King and Queen were on a Royal Progress to the North Country after a northern rebellion. Matthew Shardlake, who is part of the Progress because of a job he has been given, finds himself involved in the investigation of a death and that investigation takes him deeply into matters that involve the Royal Family, the succession and the rebellion. And, for him, these are very dangerous waters for him to be involved in.
Everything about this book is great. The death may be an accident or may be murder. If it is murder, the reason might be pedestrian or involve treason. Matthew's position and personal safety are in jeopardy, there are many different threads to the story and they may or may not be related and, on top of that, there are sufficient red herrings that the truth is not clear until the very end. On top of all of that you get the chance to learn more about Matthew's assistant, John Barack, and the people involved in his life. All in all, as much as I liked the first volume I felt that this one was far better.
Part of the enjoyment of this book is the chance to learn something about early sixteenth century life in England – how people lived, how they thought, the tension between those who were still Catholic and those who now believed in the Church Of England and, most horrifying of all, imprisonment in The Tower Of London and what passed for justice at the time.
This book is narrated by Steven Crossley who does as good a job as he did with the previous volumes. Individual characters are generally recognizable by their own accents and way of speaking and there is continuity of tone with the previous volumes. If you enjoyed Dissolution you should enjoy this even more.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
This is the second CJ Sansom I have read or listened to. (I read Dissolution because I abhore abridged and that's all Audible had of that title.) I really enjoyed the historical accuracy and setting - the author is a historian. Highly recommended if you like period mysteries. If you have to have a gun battle every five minutes, they are probably not your cup of tea.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful