Synopses & Reviews
"Antonia Hodgson’s London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real . . . A damn’d good read." —Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian
London, 1727. Tom Hawkins refuses to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with London’s notorious debtors’ prison.
The Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own, with simple rules: Those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of its ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom has never been good at following rules, even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the captain's beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: do the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.
Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder—or be the next to die.
A dazzling evocation of a startlingly modern era, The Devil in the Marshalsea is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.
"When historical fiction clicks, there's nothing more gripping...and C. J. Sansom's fantastic Sovereign left me positively baying for more. It's that good." USA Today
"Atmosphere abounds in this marvelously drawn novel." Booklist
"As this series progresses, not only has the size of this author's books grown, so has his plotting. Sansom's writing remains the straightforward, readable prose that distinguished his first two mysteries, with the occasional period word...lending a Tudor authenticity." Boston Globe
"Sansom...fleshes out the detection with rich historic details presented at a stately pace. Highly intelligent entertainment." Kirkus Reviews
"When historical fiction clicks, there's nothing more gripping . . . and C.J. Sansom's fantastic Sovereign
left me positively baying for more. It's that good. . . . Rebellion, plots, torture, fanaticism, a murder mystery and a real historical scandal come alive in this deeply satisfying novel."
-Deirdre Donahue, USA Today
"Authors of the caliber of P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, Ian Rankin, and Minette Walters remain rare. C. J. Sansom's Sovereign . . . deserves as wide a readership as any of the above. . . . It's deeper, stronger, and subtler than most novels in the genre."
-The Sunday Independent (London)
“A scenic intrigue filled with wastrels and gaols.” —Vogues “Buzziest Beach Reads” "Alive and immediate. The story crackles with anxiety as Tom finally finds purpose for his idle hands, the true meaning of honor and the identity of the real devil in the Marshalsea." —Chicago Tribune "Historical fiction just doesnt get any better than this. A riveting, fast-paced story…Magnificent!" —Jeffery Deaver, author of the bestselling The Kill Room and Edge "Antonia Hodgsons London of 1727 offers that rare achievement in historical fiction: a time and place suspensefully different from our own, yet real. The Devil in the Marshalsea reminds us at every turn that we ourselves may not have evolved far from its world of debtors and creditors, crime and generosity, appetite and pathos. A damnd good read." —Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian and The Swan Thieves "A wonderfully convincing picture of the seamier side of 18th-century life. The narrative whips along. Antonia Hodgson has a real feel for how people thought and spoke at the time—and, God knows, thats a rare talent." —Andrew Taylor, author of An Unpardonable Crime and The Four Last Things "It is the mesh of lies and duplicity that draws you into this brilliant first novel." —The Times (UK) "There are enough plot twists to fill an upturned three-corner hat and a cast of memorable and believable inmates, good and bad. This is a riveting historical thriller that's finely crafted and difficult to put down." —Daily Mail (UK) "Something new in the world of historical crim fiction, with mesmerising detail and atmosphere." —Financial Times (UK) "Splendid...Impeccably researched and astonishingly atmospheric, with time past evoked so strongly that one can almost smell it, this is a truly spellbinding tale." —The Guardian (UK) "Superbly written, historically accurate, always convincing and often quite chilling...A book to savour." —Crime Review (UK) "The plot develops almost as many intricate turns as there are passages in the Marshalsea…Hodgsons plotting is clever…the local color hair-raising." -Kirkus Reviews "[Hodgson] conjures up scenes of Dickensian squalor and marries them to a crackerjack plot, in her impressive first novel...Hodgson makes the stench, as well as the despair, almost palpable, besides expertly dropping fair clues. Fans of Iain Pears and Charles Palliser will hope for a sequel." --Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW) "Satisfyingly twisty debut thriller...so well detailed that one can almost smell the corruption, and the irrepressibly roguish Tom makes a winning hero." —Booklist
From one of P. D. James's favorite mystery authors comes the third Shardlake novel.
Autumn 1541. A plot against the throne has been uncovered, and Henry VIII has set off on a spectacular progress from London to York, along with a thousand soldiers, the cream of the nobility, and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, to quell his rebellious northern subjects. Awaiting his arrival are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his loyal assistant, Jack Barak. In addition to processing petitions to the king, Shardlakes task is to protect a dangerous conspirator until he is transported back to London for interrogation.
But when a local glazier is murdered, things get a little more complicated as the murder seems to be not only connected to Shardlakes prisoner but also to the royal family itself. Then Shardlake stumbles upon a cache of secret papers that throws into doubt the legitimacy of the entire royal line, and a chain of events unfolds that threatens Shardlake with the most terrifying fate of the age: imprisonment in the Tower of London.
This third Shardlake novel is set in the autumn of 1541, during the reign of Henry VIII. This time Matthew Shardlake is faced with the most terrifying fate of the age: imprisonment in the Tower of London.
The third Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery by C. J. Sansom, the bestselling author of Winter in Madrid and Dominion
C. J . Sansom has garnered a wider audience and increased critical praise with each new novel published. His first book in the Matthew Shardlake series, Dissolution, was selected by P. D. James in The Wall Street Journal as one of her top five all-time favorite books. Now in Sovereign, Shardlake faces the most terrifying threat in the age of Tudor England: imprisonment int he Tower of London.
Shardlake and his loyal assistant, Jack Barak, find themselves embroiled in royal intrigue when a plot against King Henry VIII is uncovered in York and a dangerous conspirator they've been charged with transporting to London is connected to the death of a local glazer.
Thrilling new historical fiction starring a scoundrel with a heart of gold and set in the darkest debtors prison in Georgian London, where people fall dead as quickly as they fall in love and no one is as they seem.
About the Author
After a career as an attorney, C. J. Sansom now writes full time.