On the eve of the dissolution of monasteries, Matthew Shardlake is sent by Thomas Cromwell to a very troublesome monastery to work out who has murdered the last king’s commissioner. It is his duty to work out a tangle of secrets and lies in the midst of a religious controversy and struggles of his own.
At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this. It came highly recommended, but it didn’t start off with much promise. Trapped on a train with nothing else to read, though, I perservered and was rewarded. The mystery was intense and though I knew Shardlake wasn’t going to die, I wondered what would happen to all the rest of the characters. I also found the portrayal of Tudor England compelling. I don’t spend much time thinking about the dissolution of the monasteries because it makes me quite angry (all that beauty and history destroyed mainly on one man’s whim) but this book really shows a country in turmoil. People don’t know what to believe or what to do. It wasn’t a pleasant time to live, but it’s very interesting to read about. I think I’ll be reading the next in this series.
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