30 Apr 2009


Sovereign By C. J. Sansom.

Autumn, 1541, King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission by his rebellious subjects in York.

Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as legal work processing local petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission for Archbishop Crammer - to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator who is to be returned to London.

But the murder of a York glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret documents which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead to Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age.

The third book in the Matthew Shardlake series and just as compulsive, this could be read independently from books one and two but I would recommend the reading of them first as you will get a much better insight into the characters as well as a greater feel for the times they live in.

Sovereign, like the previous two novels, is wonderfully researched and full of detail with characters both real and fictional though always colorful and convincing. The plot is both atmospheric and winding and had me guessing whodunnit and why until the last.

Set largely in Tudor York, though some scenes take place in other locations, the story follows King Henry VIII's progress from London and is so descriptive that I felt myself to be there - if I closed my eyes I could actually smell, hear and feel (one scene took place in London Tower dungeon) the sights let alone see them such is the power of Sansom's work, he really is such a gifted and passionate storyteller.


Ruth G said...

Hello Tracy
I have read one of the earlier books can't remember the name- but lawyers were getting murdered in the supposed secure Inn. I did enjoy that book but I forgot the author (it was a library book)- now I know which author I need to have to get some more books- not only have you got me reading a blog but now you are making me buy books!!!

Petty Witter said...

Dear Ruth G, So now I am forcing YOU to buy books - the words Kettle, Calling and Pot mean anything? Anyway the books you are looking for are Book 1 "Dissolution", Book 2 "Dark Fire", and then, after "Sovereign", Book 4 "Revelation" which by the way I plan to review soon. Enjoy.