C. J. Sansom

2003 Nominee

CWA New Blood Dagger

2003 Nominee

CWA Historical Dagger

2003 Nominee

Waverton Good Read Award

16 July 2015
480 pages


Tudor England is brought to vivid life in Dissolution, the first in C.J. Samson's phenomenal, bestselling Shardlake series. After one of Cromwell's commissioners is brutally murdered, Matthew Shardlake is drawn into an investigation that becomes darker than he could have ever imagined . . .

Perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.

'C.J. Sansom’s books are arguably the best Tudor novels going' – Sunday Times

England, 1537: Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: the monasteries are to be dissolved.

But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's Commissioner Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege - a black cockerel sacrificed on the altar, and the disappearance of Scarnsea's Great Relic.

Dr Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell into this atmosphere of treachery and death. But Shardlake's investigation soon forces him to question everything he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . . .

‘Sansom has the trick of writing an enthralling narrative. Like Hilary Mantel, he produces densely textured historical novels that absorb their readers in another time’ - Andrew Taylor, Spectator

Follow Matthew Shardlake into the dark heart of Tudor England with the rest of the series: Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, Lamentation and Tombland.

When it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival
Matthew Shardlake combines engrossing historical detail with a first-rate murder mystery. A really satisfying page-turner.
Sansom has a greater talent for animating period details than most of his contemporaries, his rendering of the Tudor winter in the first of the Shardlake series makes you reach for thick fleece blankets.