Writers: C.J. Sansom

  • Visitor

    So far, so routine

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    I've only read about a dozen chapters so far, but I'm underwhelmed. There's an awful lot of Tudor Detail, but the actual texture of the novel -- characterisation, dialogue -- is purely functional.

  • Visitor

    Something Christian this way comes...

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    It's 1537, and King Henry's Reform is in full swing in England, under the direction of Lord Thomas Cromwell and his commissioners. One such commissioner called Matthew Shardlake is sent to Scarnsea monastery to investigate the murder of Robin Singleton who was found decapitated in the monastery kitchen. Shardlake finds himself rifling through the monastery accounts, interrogating the Senior Obedentaries and being attracted to the one female in the entire precinct. Accompanied by his assistant, Mark Poer he is also required to bring about the submission of the monastery - all in the name of reform and dissolution. Certain characters were unbelievable at times, and without giving the plot away, the end was unexpected, and a little far-fetched. Apart from these minor flaws, which warranted a three-star review, i found the book very enjoyable. C. J. Sansom, in this first novel of his Shardlake Series, entwines historical fact, cultural contexts, and complex murder mystery, in...It's 1537, and King Henry's Reform is in full swing in England, under the direction of Lord Thomas Cromwell and his commissioners. One such commissioner called Matthew Shardlake is sent to Scarnsea monastery to investigate the murder of Robin Singleton who was found decapitated in the monastery kitchen. Shardlake finds himself rifling through the monastery accounts, interrogating the Senior Obedentaries and being attracted to the one female in the entire precinct. Accompanied by his assistant, Mark Poer he is also required to bring about the submission of the monastery - all in the name of reform and dissolution. Certain characters were unbelievable at times, and without giving the plot away, the end was unexpected, and a little far-fetched. Apart from these minor flaws, which warranted a three-star review, i found the book very enjoyable. C. J. Sansom, in this first novel of his Shardlake Series, entwines historical fact, cultural contexts, and complex murder mystery, in a great novel, which is definitely worth a read. (more)

  • Visitor

    The Historical Novel - successful in our times?

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    "Dark Fire" is the story of hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake and reformer, Jack Barack, employed by Thomas Cromwell to follow the trail of lost Greek Fire across Tudor London. In addition to this arduous task Shardlake is also trying to defend a suspected murderess who holds a secret she refuses to divulge... C. J. Sansom's dark mystery lands our hero and his servant in numerous dangerous situations, and Sansom successfully encourages his readers to emphathise with each of the characters. Shardlake's morality and sense of justice are pervasive throughout the story, and we will him to a successful end in both strands of the story. In spite of the depiction of Lord Cromwell as a shady character who asks Shardlake to go on this dangerous quest, we see a man who is desperate to get back into favour with King Henry, who, since the reformation and dissolution of the monasteries has considered taking a Catholic wife, and prefers the company of a Papist, the Duke of Norfolk. Sans..."Dark Fire" is the story of hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake and reformer, Jack Barack, employed by Thomas Cromwell to follow the trail of lost Greek Fire across Tudor London. In addition to this arduous task Shardlake is also trying to defend a suspected murderess who holds a secret she refuses to divulge... C. J. Sansom's dark mystery lands our hero and his servant in numerous dangerous situations, and Sansom successfully encourages his readers to emphathise with each of the characters. Shardlake's morality and sense of justice are pervasive throughout the story, and we will him to a successful end in both strands of the story. In spite of the depiction of Lord Cromwell as a shady character who asks Shardlake to go on this dangerous quest, we see a man who is desperate to get back into favour with King Henry, who, since the reformation and dissolution of the monasteries has considered taking a Catholic wife, and prefers the company of a Papist, the Duke of Norfolk. Sansom's vivid portrayal of Cromwell's desperation is commendable, and an incredibly important aspect of the cultural context of the book. As we follow Shardlake's whirlwind adventure across London, we are confronted by murder, intrigue, alchemy, and religious and political allegiances, all of which combine to create one of the greatest historical novels ever written. Read it! (more)

  • Visitor

    Torture, reform and violence...Sounds great no?!

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    Matthew Shardlake, crookback lawyer, returns in the third novel of C. J. Sansom's Shardlake series. Joined by his manservant-turned-Clerk Jack Barak, Shardlake journeys to York on a mission, on the orders of Archbishop Cranmer. Shardlake and Barak are lead into a world of deceit, danger, and political upheaval when they unearth documents question King Henry's legitimacy to the throne. The two are thrust into the spotlight as they try to uncover the truth about their sovereign lord Shardlake's wavering loyalty to the reformist faction is brought vividly to life in this gripping book. Confronted with torture, Shardlake is brought to question the very values he helped to establish at the time of the dissolution. This belief that runs through the novel overarches and exceeds all other aspects of the book, and while it's important, other aspects such as King Henry's illegitimacy is shadowed and pushed to one side. In spite of this, I thoroughly enjoyed "Sovereign" and would recomm...Matthew Shardlake, crookback lawyer, returns in the third novel of C. J. Sansom's Shardlake series. Joined by his manservant-turned-Clerk Jack Barak, Shardlake journeys to York on a mission, on the orders of Archbishop Cranmer. Shardlake and Barak are lead into a world of deceit, danger, and political upheaval when they unearth documents question King Henry's legitimacy to the throne. The two are thrust into the spotlight as they try to uncover the truth about their sovereign lord Shardlake's wavering loyalty to the reformist faction is brought vividly to life in this gripping book. Confronted with torture, Shardlake is brought to question the very values he helped to establish at the time of the dissolution. This belief that runs through the novel overarches and exceeds all other aspects of the book, and while it's important, other aspects such as King Henry's illegitimacy is shadowed and pushed to one side. In spite of this, I thoroughly enjoyed "Sovereign" and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good historical novel. (more)

  • Visitor

    Who ever said prophecies didn't come true?

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    Matthew Shardlake returns in this, Sansom's fourth novel in the Shardlake series. Having requested to be disincluded from all further political errands in "Sovereign" Matthew is shocked to find himself thrust into another politically induced scandal. When he finds a close friend murdered in a fountain Shardlake promises the widow to hunt the murderer. Little does he know what he has got himself into. This is another fabulously gripping page-turner from C.J Sansom. As Shardlake and Barak investigate murder after murder it is impossible not to contemplate the audacity and gruesome quality of each murder. A book most definitely not for the faint-hearted, I recommend this book to anyone who fancies a historical thriller with a dark twist!

Average Book Rating

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