Last issue I reviewed the second book in this trilogy
by Sansom (Dark Fire) which concludes with this novel
set in a darkly realised Tudor England of the 1540’s.
Set several months after the rebellion of the north
against Henry VIII’s decision to break with
Rome it deals with a often sidelined period of our
turbulent history when Henry set out on a spectacular
Progress to the North to extract submission by his
Sansom pulls of the difficult trick of keeping the
reader guessing throughout its six hundred odd pages
of the historical detective novel that is matchless
in its research and sheer feel of this troubled times.
The central character of the Lawyer Matthew Shardlake
returns once more with his assistant Barak, both of
whom are complex, beautifully constructed creations
of the author which add weight to the storyline and
for whom you really start to care about as they try
to navigate the shifting and traitorous political
sands of Henry’s court. A cracking read, set
in a very believable storyline.
Review by Jamie Spracklen