#6 in series
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Lamentation

4.37 based on 4810 ratings & 649 reviews on Goodreads.com

2015 Short-listed

CWA Historical Dagger

Mantle

23 October 14
9780230761292
0
£6.99
1524 mins
Steven Crossley

Synopsis

Matthew Shardlake is back in Lamentation, from the number one bestselling author C. J. Sansom.
Summer, 1546.
King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry's successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry's sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake's old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr.
Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen.
For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has - inexplicably - vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.
Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court; a world he had sworn never to enter again. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either.
The theft of Queen Catherine's book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.

The previous books in the bestselling Shardlake series are Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation and Heartstone.

In the media

...a dark and atmospheric story... Shardlake deserves his wide and rapturous readership.
The Times
Shardlake's back and better than ever . . . The plot and pacing make this the best Shardlake yet . . . it is a vision of how individuals find the moral courage to fight injustice which links the Shardlake novels to Sansom's other fictions, Winter in Madrid and Dominion. Lamentation, like its predecessors, is a triumph both as detective fiction and as a novel . . . Sansom's deep feeling for the psychology of religious faith and for the defenceless, makes him, in my view superior to Hilary Mantel.
Independent on Sunday
Sansom brilliantly conveys the uncertainty of the time when a frail young prince would ascend the throne with different factions fighting for regency . . . Sansom has the gift of plunging us into the different worlds of the period: the premises of a struggling young printer whose only asset is his press, a dangerous possession when this newfangled invention could implicate the printer in treason and heresy . . . There is a sadness about this novel which suggests that Shardlake's own world is breaking up - his great companion, Barak, who provides the physical strength the disabled lawyer lacks, gets into fearful straits - but it ends on a hopeful note for the many followers of this splendid series, which combines the imaginative insights of fiction with scholarly research. We see Shardlake carried safely downriver to join the budding court of the young Elizabeth, auguring well for his future.
Independent