Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)
Spring, 1549. Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector's prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry. Since the old King's death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry's younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of the wife of a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth's mother, John Boleyn - which could have political implications for Elizabeth - brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake's former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding the death of Edith Boleyn, as a second murder is committed. And then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, England's second largest. Barak throws in his lot with the rebels; Nicholas, opposed to them, becomes a prisoner in Norwich Castle; while Shardlake has to decide where his ultimate loyalties lie, as government forces in London prepare to march north and destroy the rebels. Meanwhile he discovers that the murder of Edith Boleyn may have connections reaching into both the heart of the rebel camp and of the Norfolk gentry . . .

Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7) Details

TitleTombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 18th, 2018
PublisherPan MacMillan - Mantle
ISBN-139781447284499
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Historical Mystery, Literary Fiction, Thriller, English History, Tudor Period, European Literature, British Literature

Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7) Review

  • Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
    January 1, 1970
    How I envy those who will read this in October, rather than April, as is the doom of those of us Sansom fans in the United States.ETA: Just ordered from Book Depository! Thanks very much, Hunter.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    One of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint - staggeringly good historical fiction, part of a series that finds something new to say about the Tudors. This time it's the rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, most particularly in Norwich and Norfolk. Sansom achieves something remarkable - a novel that is so full of historical detail and colour, its descriptions so vivid, that it pays to take your time and visualise what you're reading. It feels like events a One of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint - staggeringly good historical fiction, part of a series that finds something new to say about the Tudors. This time it's the rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, most particularly in Norwich and Norfolk. Sansom achieves something remarkable - a novel that is so full of historical detail and colour, its descriptions so vivid, that it pays to take your time and visualise what you're reading. It feels like events are taking place all around you. Brilliant. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    An England ripe for rebellion...It’s the summer of 1549, and young King Edward VI is on the throne following the death of Henry VIII two years earlier. Since Edward is still a child, the guardians appointed by Henry have in turn appointed a Protector to rule in his stead, his uncle Edward Seymour. There is great poverty in the towns and cities while, in the farming lands of the north and west, landlords are enclosing common land for their own sheep, fermenting unrest amongst the smallholders and An England ripe for rebellion...It’s the summer of 1549, and young King Edward VI is on the throne following the death of Henry VIII two years earlier. Since Edward is still a child, the guardians appointed by Henry have in turn appointed a Protector to rule in his stead, his uncle Edward Seymour. There is great poverty in the towns and cities while, in the farming lands of the north and west, landlords are enclosing common land for their own sheep, fermenting unrest amongst the smallholders and tenant farmers who relied on that land to eke out their own precarious living. Throw in the usual religious turmoil – the new Book of Common Prayer has just been foisted on a population tired of constant change and with newly developed religious opinions of their own – and an unpopular and unwinnable war against those pesky Scots, and the time is ripe for rebellion. It’s at this moment that Shardlake is summoned by his new patron, Princess Elizabeth, to investigate a murder of which one of her distant Boleyn relatives stands accused. And so he must head for Norwich, a city that will soon be at the heart of the East Anglian rebellion, led by the charismatic Robert Kett...Generally speaking, when I see that a book has 800 pages I groan and run in the opposite direction. But with Sansom, I sigh and wish it was a few hundred pages longer. His ability to create an entirely immersive and believable Tudor world is second to none, partly because his own background as a historian means that the history is accurate. Sure, he manipulates it a little for literary purposes and he uses his imagination to fill in historical blanks, but he never strays far from actual events; and his characters are equally well and credibly depicted, whether they are real or fictional. Matthew Shardlake, as fans know, is a decent man with real empathy for the poor and disadvantaged, so it’s no surprise that this is a sympathetic portrayal of Kett’s Rebellion, showing him and his followers in a light that may be a little more idealistic than was really likely. But I bow to Sansom’s greater knowledge – maybe they did behave as well as he suggests – and I bow even more deeply to his skill in story-telling, because I was happy to buy into the idea of Kett as a principled leader and his followers as mostly disciplined and fair-minded men and women.The bulk of the book is spent with the rebels, as Shardlake and his young assistant Nicholas get caught up in events. Nicholas is a son of a landowner, so has a different opinion from Shardlake initially, although his viewpoint is shaken as he is forced to witness some of the cruelties the poor are forced to suffer at the hands of the ruling class. Sansom uses him, though, to give the other side – to make the case for the landowners. Jack Barak is back, too, coping well after the events of the previous book. Being from lower stock himself, he is naturally drawn to the rebels, so with all three of the companions standing at different heights on the social ladder, it’s unclear whether their friendship will be enough to hold them together when the fighting begins. The murder plot is how the book begins and ends, and it rumbles on as a background to the rebellion plot in the lengthy mid-section, but Sansom never allows it to be lost sight of entirely. John Boleyn, a landowner and distant cousin of Anne Boleyn, stands accused of murdering his first wife, Edith. Edith had left him and disappeared some years earlier, and he had eventually had her declared dead and married again. But now Edith’s newly murdered body has been found, displayed in a sordid fashion near John’s estate. Shardlake must find out where she’s been for the last nine years, and who, other than John and his second wife, might have wanted her dead. The personal lives of the recurring characters are brought up to date, too. Jack’s relationship with his wife Tamasin is rocky, partly because she’s never forgiven Shardlake for the events in the last book (avoiding spoilers, apologies for vagueness). Young Nicholas is of an age to consider marrying and Matthew is concerned that he seems to have set his heart on a woman Matthew thinks is shallow and unworthy of him. Guy is old now and ill, and Matthew fears he may soon lose the man he considers his closest friend. And Matthew himself is feeling rather lonely. The old Queen, Catherine Parr, is dead and Matthew misses her more than a commoner should miss a queen. But he also misses his old servants, many of whom he had taken in as waifs and strays, and who have now grown up and left for lives of their own. So one of the things he wants to do in Norwich is look up his old maidservant Josephine, now married and living in the city. The last time she wrote to him, she was expecting her first child and he’s worried that it’s been some months and he’s heard no more.This is another completely satisfying addition to the series, confirming again my belief that Sansom is the best historical fiction writer certainly today and perhaps ever. He tells his story in a straightforward linear way, without stylistic quirks or “creative” writing, relying instead on creating a great historical setting founded on in-depth research, a strong plot, and a group of brilliantly depicted characters who have all the complexity of real, flawed humanity. Shardlake himself continues to be one of the most appealing characters in fiction – irascible, often lonely, occasionally a little self-pitying, but intelligent, determined, dedicated, charitable and wholeheartedly loyal to those he takes into his generous heart. If I ever stand accused of murder, I hope I have a Shardlake to depend on. A great book in a brilliant series – my highest recommendation!NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Mantle, an imprint of Pan MacMillan.www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
    January 1, 1970
    Looooved it. Next one soon please. Don’t leave me hanging Mr Sansom.
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the settings of Tombland I'm not going to lie. This was a monster of a book even for me. A tomb of a read ironically at over 840 pages. But do you know what? It's CJ Sansom and the time passed quickly as I was sucked into a medieval world of intrigue and murder.There’s a lot to enjoy here, and not just with the plot. Around you as you read, there are battles, conspiracies and talk of royal intrigue. Shardlake has a murder to solve and then another body turns up...The rebellions of 1549 dur Visit the settings of Tombland I'm not going to lie. This was a monster of a book even for me. A tomb of a read ironically at over 840 pages. But do you know what? It's CJ Sansom and the time passed quickly as I was sucked into a medieval world of intrigue and murder.There’s a lot to enjoy here, and not just with the plot. Around you as you read, there are battles, conspiracies and talk of royal intrigue. Shardlake has a murder to solve and then another body turns up...The rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI are what drives the novel and the events of Tombland in historical Norwich. I had no idea this was a real place but I’ve worn out Google Maps finding out as much as I can about it. I know it so well now - well the 1549 version. How exciting it will be to see the modern day version and Sansom’s version at the same time.There’s a keen sense of chaos in the novel but when you have a king who is only eleven years old...the country is in turmoil and there is religious turmoil as well. No one seems safe. Even everyday life is getting harder as the financial state of the country is in free fall. You get a keen sense of all of this in the novel and it’s like wandering down the streets yourself, the sights, sounds and godforsaken smells all the more real as you walk on.Shardlake works as a lawyer for Henry’s VIII’s daughter Elizabeth and the Boleyn name comes back into play when  a distant relative from Norfolk is found murdered. Of course, Shardlake is the man for the job, but this is unlike anything he has been asked to do before.It’s a very visual novel - from the chaotic market scenes to the cumbersome journeys the characters have to undertake to get to Tombland, the inns they stop at on the way and the cells of Norwich castle....it’s a world of medieval wonder and mixes historical fact, peasant revolt and the true meaning of loyalty.And within all of this, a strong plot worthy of the Shardlake name. Read it slowly, take it in and allow yourself to be submerged into a historically fascinating world.
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  • Juliet Bookliterati
    January 1, 1970
    Tombland is the most unexpected release for me this year as I thought Lamentation, the sixth book, was the last in his Shardlake Series. This now has to be the most anticipated book of the year for me, and I was very excited to receive a copy to review.Set in 1549, three years after the last book, Tombland sees Matthew Shardlake now working for The Lady Elizabeth as her lawyer. The three years have seen the death of Henry VIII and Catherine Parr, Shardlake's former employer and friend, and the y Tombland is the most unexpected release for me this year as I thought Lamentation, the sixth book, was the last in his Shardlake Series. This now has to be the most anticipated book of the year for me, and I was very excited to receive a copy to review.Set in 1549, three years after the last book, Tombland sees Matthew Shardlake now working for The Lady Elizabeth as her lawyer. The three years have seen the death of Henry VIII and Catherine Parr, Shardlake's former employer and friend, and the young Edward VI on the throne. Whilst some characters have died many of the familiar characters from the previous books return; Jack Barak, Nicholas Overton, Guy, William Cecil and Lord Richard Rich. Shardlake is bored with the legal work of land registration for Lady Elizabeth so jumps at the chance to go to Norfolk to look into the murder of a distant Boleyn relative of Elizabeth to ensure justice is achieved. Set against the peasant rebellions in Norfolk, Tombland is remarkable read, that combines fact and fiction seamlessly.Tombland refers to an area of Norwich where many of the gentleman and wealthy classes resided, and where Shardlake and Overton stay whilst on business in Norfolk. This book has so many layers to it, that weave themselves into a rich tapestry of prose.  Evelyn Boleyn has been murdered in s despicable way and her husband, John Boleyn is arrested for her murder, and Shardlake is charged with making sure the murder is fully investigated and if her relative John Boleyn is found guilty a pardon sent to the young King. Shardlake, Overton and Barak find themselves in Norfolk in a time of unrest, the poor starving due to bad crops and landowners taking common land from the lower classes to graze sheep.  This unrest led to rebellion by the peasants against the gentlemen land owners, with Norwich having the biggest rebellion camp.  Samsom's attention to detail and research brings the the tension between the two factions to life, also the smells and sights of camp life where over five thousand men and women were living: unwashed bodied in close proximity, animal carcass', the fires, food, and the horrors of war.As I have come to expect from C.J. Sansom the characters captivate your attention, and draw you into their lives.  Shardlake is still as dogged in his pursuit of justice at all costs.  He still has his side kick Barack and junior colleague Overton at his side, and meeting them again in this book felt like connecting with old friends.  There were also some memorable new characters including John Boleyn's sadistic twin sons, the corrupt Sir Richard Southwell, tyoung Simon Scrambler and the Kett brothers who were at the centre of the rebellion, all of whom add to the richness of this book, and offer varying viewpoints of the problems in sixteenth century England.Tombland is a large read at eight hundred and fifty pages long, but each of those pages is justified to be there, giving a depth and richness that make this book stand out from others. This really is one of those books that you fall into and almost forget to come up for air, so compelling and immersive is the plot and characters.  For me, C.J.Samsom is the master of Tudor historical fiction,  he brings the voices and atmosphere of the period vividly off the page and into your heart. So much more than just a murder mystery, Tombland is an erudite and brilliant read that builds to a catastrophic finale for all involved; a magnificent read.
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  • Richard Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    Where the first six of the Shardlake series were very very good, this is outstanding. It's a towering achievement of a book. Consciously or unconsciously, this is an indictment of the English class system of tgen and now, an indictment of austerity, of politicians, and of Brexit. It also portrays the dilemma of many - support of radical reform mixed with fear of change and loss. Where the previous 6 books were firmly historical fiction anchored in the time described, Tombland is one of those rar Where the first six of the Shardlake series were very very good, this is outstanding. It's a towering achievement of a book. Consciously or unconsciously, this is an indictment of the English class system of tgen and now, an indictment of austerity, of politicians, and of Brexit. It also portrays the dilemma of many - support of radical reform mixed with fear of change and loss. Where the previous 6 books were firmly historical fiction anchored in the time described, Tombland is one of those rare historical novels which draws a dirct line from what was then to what is now.Matthew Shardlake is one of the great protagonists of modern historical fiction.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    There are a handful of fine authors that always deliver the goods, especially when continuing an established series. No need to pore over countless reviews on various sites, read an excerpt or listen to a sample before parting with my money - I‘ll just click ‘pre-order’ as soon as I discover that the next installment even exists. CJ Sansom and his Shardlake series belong firmly in that category. Return here for finely woven stories and painstaking research but most importantly a character that y There are a handful of fine authors that always deliver the goods, especially when continuing an established series. No need to pore over countless reviews on various sites, read an excerpt or listen to a sample before parting with my money - I‘ll just click ‘pre-order’ as soon as I discover that the next installment even exists. CJ Sansom and his Shardlake series belong firmly in that category. Return here for finely woven stories and painstaking research but most importantly a character that you want to spend time with over and over again. Each new book is like a hug from an old friend.Tombland is an exceptional novel; all of the Shardlake stories are excellent but I found the specific time setting for this book to be particularly compelling. England is a country in crisis. The nation has endured political and religious upheavals inflicted on them by a sovereign driven more by his ego and libido than the good of his subjects. Now a solemn child sits on the throne and his uncle holds the reins of power. A scrappy but long-winded campaign against Scotland has drained the national coffers and the coinage has been debased more than once. Rich landowners are evicting rural families, replacing crops with sheep bred for their lucrative wool. Food is scarce and prices are high. All of these factors lead to a populace at boiling point, rebels are sweeping the land and scooping up anyone they encounter. Dear Master Shardlake often lands himself in hot water whilst doing the honourable thing but this time he is kept simmering for almost half the book. As always there is a multi-faceted murder mystery to be solved at the behest of an important patron (in this case the young Lady Elizabeth). Also, a retinue of colourful characters including those of the ‘boo-hiss’ pantomime variety (here some deliciously vile twins and their hateful grandfather join the self-interested courtiers on the naughty list). However, for me the strength of this novel lies in the way Sansom brings the plight of the average Englander to life. We cannot help but empathise with the rebels just as Matthew surely does, at the same time we worry about the consequences of his involvement with them. This book truly gives the reader insight into this dark period of English history. I wish I could say that we have come a long way since then but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. What is true is that CJ Sansom is a wonderful writer who will hopefully keep me clicking the ‘pre-order’ button for many years to come.
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve really loved the Shardlake novels up till now. They are full of interest, action and drama and sneakily give you little bit of historical knowledge on the side. And this one is no exception. Unusually, it involves two almost separate themes – they obligatory murder investigation and the peasant revolts of 1549. They are interwoven, of course, but the first third or so of the book is mostly about the murder and the remaining section is about the revolts.At first, I wondered if this one would I’ve really loved the Shardlake novels up till now. They are full of interest, action and drama and sneakily give you little bit of historical knowledge on the side. And this one is no exception. Unusually, it involves two almost separate themes – they obligatory murder investigation and the peasant revolts of 1549. They are interwoven, of course, but the first third or so of the book is mostly about the murder and the remaining section is about the revolts.At first, I wondered if this one would hit the spot. The prologue and first few chapters are quite complicated with too many characters and a shaky premise. Why would Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth I to-be) really take an interest in a murder miles away in Norfolk and send our hero and barrister, Shardlake, to investigate? And why must her involvement in the matter remain concealed and how could she really be compromised it came to light? I felt this lacked credibility.However, once the novel gets going, it turns into the usual Shardlake Tudor romp – and fans won’t be disappointed. The book is long, 656 pages according to the publisher’s website – though I don’t know if this includes the lengthy historical essay at the end (annoyingly, my Kindle edition lacked page numbers) - and I think it would have benefited from being a 100 or so pages shorter.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't think I would ever get the chance to review a Matthew Shardlake book, I thought the series had finished so to get another one was very exciting I've never been one to shy away from a big book, in fact often the opposite I love nothing more than a big book I can sink my teeth into. But it has to be engaging and that is where this book fell short. The murder often felt totally sidelined by the events of Ketts rebellion, which is something I knew nothing about before reading this book. Alt I didn't think I would ever get the chance to review a Matthew Shardlake book, I thought the series had finished so to get another one was very exciting I've never been one to shy away from a big book, in fact often the opposite I love nothing more than a big book I can sink my teeth into. But it has to be engaging and that is where this book fell short. The murder often felt totally sidelined by the events of Ketts rebellion, which is something I knew nothing about before reading this book. Although the events of the rebellion are interesting they are not what I came to this book looking for, and for long passages the narrative simply dragged. The events surrounding the murder just felt like they where crammed in at the very end, like the author had remembered about the murder and had to tie up events very quickly I enjoyed meeting familiar faces again, especially Matthew the protagonist but in this one it felt like he was less of himself. Content a lot of the way to allow things to happen to him rather than striving to enact the changes he wanted to see in the books before. While I understand this based on where he found himself it still grated to watch him just allow others to make all his decisions for him rather than stand up for himself Overall disappointing. I hope if we get another book it doesn't take as long, and is better than this one
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastically detailed novel on an aspect of history which is not particularly well known and a must read for all the Shardlake fans out there. Sampson, as always piqued my interest in a lesser known part of history, bringing it to life by entwining it within a captivating narrative. It is humbling to think of the struggles that everyday common people faced in those days against the ruling classes and that even to the most liberal minded like Shardlake, a democracy state seemed like a fantastica Fantastically detailed novel on an aspect of history which is not particularly well known and a must read for all the Shardlake fans out there. Sampson, as always piqued my interest in a lesser known part of history, bringing it to life by entwining it within a captivating narrative. It is humbling to think of the struggles that everyday common people faced in those days against the ruling classes and that even to the most liberal minded like Shardlake, a democracy state seemed like a fantastical dream. My only criticism would be that the murder plot was significantly weaker in comparison to earlier novels in the series, having far fewer twists, turns and political implications than say, Lamentations or Sovereign. The strength of this novel definitely lies in the colour and reality brought to everyday life in the rebel camp.
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  • Meggie
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, I was really surprised about Tombland. Mostly because there wasn't any information about an up-coming release of Tombland. For me it came out out of blue, nonetheless I loved it completely. C.J. Sansom done an amazing work in continuation of Matthew Shardlake life. This book was really hard on Matthew and his assistant Nicholas Overton. I was even happier that Matthew's former assistant Jack Barak reunited at Norwich with them. This book was really bloody and dark, but logical too. I'm glad Wow, I was really surprised about Tombland. Mostly because there wasn't any information about an up-coming release of Tombland. For me it came out out of blue, nonetheless I loved it completely. C.J. Sansom done an amazing work in continuation of Matthew Shardlake life. This book was really hard on Matthew and his assistant Nicholas Overton. I was even happier that Matthew's former assistant Jack Barak reunited at Norwich with them. This book was really bloody and dark, but logical too. I'm glad Matthew found the true killer be-hiding the death of Edith Boleyn. I love how Nicholas developed in this book, he grown into a fine young man. Excellent work by C.J. Sansom!
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  • Graemeoswald
    January 1, 1970
    TerrificA beguiling mixture of fiction and long forgotten or buried facts. I confess to having been completely ignorant of the real life events in which Matthew Shardlake becomes embroiled. So as well as being a very interesting murder mystery, it is also a fascinating insight into the Tudor legal system and life in the late 15th century.
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  • Peter Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    Up to his usual high standardAlways excellent, Sansom has picked a fascinating period - the Protectorate following Henry VIII's death - and an event little understood - Kett's rebellion.The rebellion is still regarded proudly by many East Anglian natives of peasant stock and Sansom does a good job of retelling.
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  • Peter Pinkney
    January 1, 1970
    I love this series and I have eagerly awaited this one, and of course, it didn’t disappoint!Tudors, social history, crime, and great characters. What more could you want!PS there is also an excellent essay at the end which explains the historical facts.
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  • Mike Trueman
    January 1, 1970
    Worth waiting for!I have been a fan of all the previous Shardlake novels, and in my view Tombland is the best. I found the story "clearer" than in some of its predecessors, and it easily kept my interest throughout what is by modern standards, a lengthy story.
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  • Layla
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this. I love this series anyway, Shardlake is a great character, but as this is set in the city where I live and Kett's Rebellion is one of my favourite bits of history, it made it even more enjoyable.
  • Elizabeth Hawksworth
    January 1, 1970
    Another Excellent book! Just finished the new Shardlake book of Tombland. Very long and tremendously interesting , both from a historical and fictional point of view. Countdown to the next has now begun. I hope it will not be too long. Read and enjoy!
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant - the best Shardlake yet.
  • Benedict Seymour
    January 1, 1970
    As always C J Sansom does not disappoint a 800 page treat of a read!
  • S.Wood
    January 1, 1970
    Perfect, perfect, perfect. More please!
  • Missymo
    January 1, 1970
    Received my copy today. Cannot wait to go to bed to tuck in! Mr Shardlake here I come!
  • Janina Barlow
    January 1, 1970
    An epic of a book sees central character Matthew Shardlake caught up in the 1549 Ketts a rebellion. Meticulously researched and wonderfully written.
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