Matthew Shardlake is one of my favorite characters of all time. A hunchback lawyer during the Tudor era of England, Shardlake must overcome his own disability, negotiate some very nasty political traps, elude power hungry sycophants, maintain his integrity and reputation without a whisper of corruption or treason, while still giving necessary impartial legal advise to the crown. With all that just to begin with, you know that each book will be full of political intrigue, impossible choices, and a rich tapestry of historical characters and colorful details of the time period. Tombland, the seventh in this series, does not disappoint at all!
Matthew Shardlake was Henry VIII’s personal lawyer but after his death, Shardlake began working for Princess Elizabeth, as she began to manage her own estates and property. It is spring, 1549 and Edward VI is on the throne but since he is only eleven years old, his uncle, Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, runs the country as his regent and Protector. Lord Hertford, however, is not doing a very good job. The country over extended by a long war with Scotland is on the verge of economic collapse and and rebellion is erupting among the peasantry all over the country.
In the middle of this instability, Princess Elizabeth asks Shardlake to investigate the mysterious death of one of her distant relatives at her summer estate. No sooner have Matthew and his assistance Nicholas arrive than another murder takes place. As tensions rise among the peasantry around the summer estate, Shardlake must find out who has been murdered and why, as well as any connections these murders may have on the peasant uprising that soon engulfs them.
Sansom takes a little known part of history and breathes life into it. Rich in detail, with numerous characters that Sansom takes care to fully realize, he creates a window into the past that makes you feel as though you are watching it unfold in front of you. This of course comes at some cost, since at 844 pages this is not a light read, but it is more than worth it! Enjoy!
Brenda’s Rating: *****(5 out 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Marian
Book Study Worthy? Yes
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