C J Sansom – The Matthew Shardlake books
A great detective series
As the British public’s fascination with the Tudors continues, the Shardlake novels, which combine history and mystery are increasingly popular, selling huge quantities in hardback.
Matthew Shardlake is an unlikely hero – a hunchbacked lawyer who longs for peace and quiet but who manages to make himself indispensable to Thomas Cromwell in his reforming zeal. The more Shardlake works for Cromwell and then Archbishop Cranmer, the more he comes to doubt the principles of Reform.
The vigorous, well-drawn characters and their flawed moral intelligence are especially enjoyable, and a reminder of much that is lacking in current literary fiction… As political greed continues to torment the innocent under the guise of religion, this gripping and engaging series seems ominously prescient about the present, as well as genuinely enlightening about the past.” — Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday
All five books are amazingly hard to put down and their success is due as much to genuine reader enthusiasm as critical acclaim. The good news is that Dissolution is due to appear on our TV screens soon (with Kenneth Branagh as Shardlake – but isn’t he Wallander?)
see Heartstone:another Shardlake triumph on blog postings
1. Dissolution (2003)
2. Dark Fire (2004)
3. Sovereign (2006)
4. Revelation (2008)
5. Heartstone (2010)
Thomas Cromwell is a figure who is enjoying a lot of fictional attention at the moment: he is, of course, the central character of Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, a rich, absorbing examination of Tudor life and the court of Henry VIII. It’s hugely enjoyable, but it’s as well to be aware that throughout the novel, Cromwell is usually referred to simply as ‘he’ – long passages of dialogue need to be read carefully!