Matthew Shardlake, hunchbacked lawyer, investigates crimes in the England of Henry VIII. In this book he travels into Hampshire to find out whether a young orphan is being cheated of his inheritance by the man who has bought his wardship. At the same time he tries to discover why Ellen has been committed to Bedlam despite there being no certificate of lunacy: what is the secret buried in her past? All this is set to the background of preparations for Henry VIII's final war against France: the French fleet is off Portsmouth and there are rumours of invasion. The book climaxes with Shardlake on board the Mary Rose as the capsizes.
This is written with all the verve that characterises Sansom's Shardlake series (also see entries on Dissolution and Dark Fire). He is exceptional on describing scenes though sometimes I thought there was a little too much incidental detail in this book and not enough concentration on the plot: the journey down to Hampshire with the company of archers, for example, took several chapters and could have been axed without disruption to the narrative.
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57