Edward Hahn, February 7, 2014 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
An excellent and surprisingly interesting historical novel that takes place during a period of English History I know little about: the dissolution of the Roman Catholic establishment and transfer to the new religion of Henry VIII.
The protagonist, Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer, is sent to a monastery on the coast of Sussex to solve the murder of his predecessor and also to dissolve the monastery. Written in the first person the book allows us to see the situation and the times as they were experienced by Shardlake not as an observer. He has his good moments and his bad. He is human. As the story progresses he changes his view of both the monks and his charge.
The suspense is palpable as Shardlake puts himself in harm's way. The story winds down without leaving the reader feeling rushed. All in all, an enjoyable read and highly recommended.
Donald McDougall, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Donald McDougall)
I have read all of Sansom's book. Dissolution is the first in the series and nearly the best. I very much enjoyed the tale. Historical fiction from a very interesting time in the history of England, and about an important matter which most experts do not know much detail about -- the dissolution of the monasteries. I think it is well worth reading and I am now ordering it for a friend.
Anna Hernandez, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Anna Hernandez)
Another book I couldn't put down. I've been to several of the places that the characters describe so I was transported there but not to modern day but to the middle of the reign of Henry VIII, that's how good the historical research in this book it. The characters are well drawn and the dialogue is beautifully written. You actually feel like you could be friends with the main character so that during his trials and tribulations you yearn to reach out and comfort him. The author’s view of the political reasons behind the dissolutions of the monasteries and the religious upheavals is also very interesting.
Kristen M, February 7, 2010 (view all comments by Kristen M)
I thought that this one was well put together with a good plot and tone. It was a little slow-going to start and didn't really have much build-up until the very end but it was still engaging and interesting. The topic is the dissolution of the British monasteries after the rise of the Church of England. This particular Benedictine monastery happens to be the site of the murder of a government official and Shardlake is sent to investigate. This isn't a time period that I have read a lot about so I feel like there is more to learn from Sansom.
With extremely good writing and a clever interweaving of history, C. J. Sansom has introduced a new mystery series that focuses on Tudor England and a protagonist who works for Thomas Cromwell. I'm looking forward to further investigations by this sharp, new character.
"Reminiscent of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (without much of the intellectual discourse), Sansom's first novel will not disappoint fans of historical fiction."
by Publishers Weekly,
"With this cunningly plotted and darkly atmospheric effort, Sansom proves himself to be a promising newcomer."
From the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion comes the exciting and elegantly written first novel in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series
Dissolution is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England. The year is 1537, and the country is divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the king and the newly established Church of England. When a royal commissioner is brutally murdered in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIIIs feared vicar general, summons fellow reformer Matthew Shardlake to lead the inquiry. Shardlake and his young protégé uncover evidence of sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason, and when two other murders are revealed, they must move quickly to prevent the killer from striking again.
A "remarkable debut" (P. D. James), Dissolution introduces a thrilling historical series that is not to be missed by fans of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
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