C. J. Sansom

2011 Nominee

Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

2011 Nominee

National Book Awards Crime Book of the Year

09 May 2024
768 pages


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

Heartstone is the fifth spellbinding mystery in C. J. Sansom’s number one bestselling Shardlake series, perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.

England, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII’s invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel.

Meanwhile, Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Asked to investigate claims of ‘monstrous wrongs’ committed against a young ward of the court, Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak journey to Portsmouth. There, Shardlake also intends to investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettiplace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam.

Once in Portsmouth, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing for war. The mysteries surrounding the two cases involve Shardlake in reunions both with an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne. And soon, events will converge on board one of the King’s great warships gathered in Portsmouth harbour, waiting to confront the approaching French fleet . . .

Heartstone is the fifth novel in C. J. Sansom's gripping historical series. It is followed by the sixth book in the series, Lamentation.

C. J. Sansom has created a convincingly realistic Tudor detective in Matthew Shardlake. He lives and breathes in an utterly convincing world, drawing the reader into the darker corners of history
A triumph of Tudor history and mystery . . . Heartstone is a rousing tour de force of period re-creation, testifying to Samson’s fascination with history
The best novel in this richly entertaining series . . . History never seemed so real