Matthew Shardlake, the narrator and ‘hero’ of Lamentation by C J Sansom [London: Mantle, 2014] acquits himself well and emerges alive at the end; unlike some. The sixth of Sansom’s Tudor detective-adventure-historical novels is as exciting and as bloody as the previous five; and just as satisfying. In a way, I would love to see him go on but poor Matthew deserves a break after six years of life-threatening escapades including two short spells in the Tower.
The Matthew Shardlake series of historical crime fiction from C J Sansom continues superbly with number five, Heartstone. [London: Pan Books, 2011] As ever the author combines several apparently separate story lines within a gripping, sometimes terrifying ‘detective’ story against a convincingly authentic Tudor background.
Sovereign [London: Macmillan, 2006] is book three of the now six-book Shardlake series from the enterprising pen of C J Sansom and it matches up in every way to the others I have read. I still have to get through five and six but I have a feeling I shall do so later this year. I’m hooked. Shardlake’s death-defying adventures are more than just an antidote for those still waiting for Hilary Mantel’s third volume about which I see no convincing rumours on the web.
Sansom’s Tudor thrillers are too tempting to stay away from and Dark Fire [London: Macmillan, 2003] lives up to expectations, indeed goes beyond them. Sansom skilfully interweaves the political and private lives of the 1540s with the imagined rediscovery of dark fire, otherwise known as Greek fire, and the sort of heart-stopping and bloody adventures that the hero, Matthew Shardlake, seems to stumble into in every chapter. Readers in this century are inevitably reminded of weapons of mass destruction and the question of whether or not they exist.
Revelation [London: Macmillan, 2008] is a revelation: Sansom’s fourth novel in his Shardlake series of Tudor detective thrillers was my eye-opener to the series in which Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer in mid-16th century London, battles through blood, poisoning, stabbing, flame and explosion to solve the mystery of who is the perpetrator of a series of horrendous murders. Crime novel readers could hardly ask for more. The pressure and tension are never lifted and seem to grow with each succeeding chapter.