Top positive review
I think this is Sansom's finest creation. I studied Tudor history at a school ...
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2018
First, there seems to be some confusion about the release dates of this book. I have it on Kindle (October, 2018) so no worries there. Perhaps I ought to have waited for the hardback to join all the other C.J. Sansoms on my shelves - because this is a keeper!
Set in 1549, when Henry VIII's young son, Edward, has inherited his father's throne, it deals with an uprising against Edward's guardian, the Lord Protector Somerset. The rebellion is led by two brothers from Norfolk called Kett and the story centres on the city of Norwich, which at that time was England's second biggest.
As with all of Sansom's Tudor novels it 'stars' the hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, and his sidekick, Jack Barak. They're sent by Edward's older step-sister, the Lady Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) to investigate a gruesome murder near Norwich when Kett's Rebelion erupts.
In short, of all the Shardlake novels, I think this is Sansom's finest creation. I studied Tudor history at a school founded and named after Edward VI, just across the road from where Sansom himself studied at Birmingham University, but had no inkling of the extent of the rebellions of 1549. (We were founded in 1552.)
But, more important, Shardlake as a character continues to develop and the plotting is truly excellent. It's a great yarn filled with superb historical insights and detail. Highly recommended. (And with a very intelligent, learned, yet easily readable coda reviewing the historical sources with Sansom's own well-informed comments.) Oh - did I say Highly recommended?