Author Topic: "Sovereign" A Tudor-era mystery by C.J. Sansom  (Read 2565 times)

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Offline Toki Bloodaxe

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"Sovereign" A Tudor-era mystery by C.J. Sansom
« on: August 26, 2008, 09:15:02 PM »
     I just finished a most interesting book. For fans of British mysteries with all of their plot twists  and atmospheric settings in and around London or the brooding British countryside, "Sovereign" by C. J. Sansom will certainly deliver. The story concerns King Henry VIII's Great Northern Progress of 1541 where he travelled to Northern England, York in particular, to receive the loyalty oaths of the rather rebelious Northern Lords and businessmen. He takes along with him his young fifth wife Catherine Howard, over one thousand soldiers and nearly two thousand retainers. But, trouble awaits the aging and corrupt monarch. There is a conspiracy afoot to discredit his family's right to the throne, and the locals may be in a restless and rebelious mood because of an over-extensive tax burden and religious hostility.
    Into this mix comes Matthew Shardlake, a hunchbacked London lawyer (a good one....yes, there are some) with a curious nature and a nose for trouble, who is given the task of escorting a rebel back to London for interrogation at the Tower. Things don't go easy for Brother Shardlake. The weather doesn't cooperate, there are numerous unique and violent attempts on his life, and he falls out with his best friend. If that isn't enough, King Henry ridicules him in front of everyone and makes him a laughingstock. Then, a mysterious chest appears with papers in it condemning King Henry and the whole Tudor line as a bunch of common usurpers. Young Queen Catherine has daliances with some handsome young men. And, brutish and conniving Northern Lords run roughshod over the common folk. Throughout all of this, King Henry's leg continues to ooze puss and  gangreous offal and you know that it can't be long until he meets his maker.
    This story is fast-paced, well-written and researched, as a good story of any type should be. It is descriptive without being too dense and there are some truly terrifying instances of torture in the Tower.  All-in-all, its a great book for interested adult readers. Now, keep in mind that this is the third book in a series of four. So, you might want to start with "Dissolusion" which is the first book, and not start with the third book like I foolishly did.


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