Review of Dissolution by C.J.Sansom
It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. And under the orders of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent throughout the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: dissolution.
But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's Commissioner, Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege.
Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell to uncover the truth behind the dark happenings at Scarnsea. But investigation soon forces Shardlake to question everything that he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes ...
This is the first book in CJ Sansom's Shardlake series and I would give it five stars.
Shardlake is a lawyer at the time of Henry VIII. He is not what one might call a traditional hero. He is a hunchback whose infirmity often troubles him. He is also regarded with suspicion and superstition by those around him, but he is a clever man.
C,J,Sansom has captured the period very well in this work. There is a very real fear amongst the people that the new Protestant religion is threatening them if they are not seen to fully embrace it. The characters he has created are very believable with all the foibles of humanity throughout the ages.
The book is very well written and moves along at a fast pace, carrying the reader along with it. There are clues as to the murderer if the reader can manage to piece things together. I didn't, and so was surprised at the ending.
I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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