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Tombland

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Loistelias historiallinen trilleri vie lukijan keskelle Tudorien ajan Englannin kuohuntaa. Huippusuositun Shardlake-sarjan seitsemäs osa. On kevät vuonna 1549. Englanti on luisumassa kaaokseen Henrik VIII:n kuoleman jälkeen. Uskonnolliset erimielisyydet repivät kansaa, sota Skotlannin kanssa jatkuu jatkumistaan ja koko maan talous uhkaa romahtaa. Kuninkaan kuoltua veitsente Loistelias historiallinen trilleri vie lukijan keskelle Tudorien ajan Englannin kuohuntaa. Huippusuositun Shardlake-sarjan seitsemäs osa. On kevät vuonna 1549. Englanti on luisumassa kaaokseen Henrik VIII:n kuoleman jälkeen. Uskonnolliset erimielisyydet repivät kansaa, sota Skotlannin kanssa jatkuu jatkumistaan ja koko maan talous uhkaa romahtaa. Kuninkaan kuoltua veitsenterävä Matthew Shardlake on työskennellyt tämän tyttären, Lady Elizabethin palveluksessa. Kun Elizabethin sukulainen murhataan, Shardlaken on matkustettava selvittämään rikosta. Kun tapaukseen liittyvät mysteerit alkavat valjeta, talonpoikien kapina puhkeaa. Murhalla näyttää olevan kytköksiä niin kapinallisleiriin kuin Norfolkin säätyläisiin. Kun kansannousu jakaa Shardlaken lähipiirin kahtia, hän on kohtalokkaiden valintojen edessä.


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Loistelias historiallinen trilleri vie lukijan keskelle Tudorien ajan Englannin kuohuntaa. Huippusuositun Shardlake-sarjan seitsemäs osa. On kevät vuonna 1549. Englanti on luisumassa kaaokseen Henrik VIII:n kuoleman jälkeen. Uskonnolliset erimielisyydet repivät kansaa, sota Skotlannin kanssa jatkuu jatkumistaan ja koko maan talous uhkaa romahtaa. Kuninkaan kuoltua veitsente Loistelias historiallinen trilleri vie lukijan keskelle Tudorien ajan Englannin kuohuntaa. Huippusuositun Shardlake-sarjan seitsemäs osa. On kevät vuonna 1549. Englanti on luisumassa kaaokseen Henrik VIII:n kuoleman jälkeen. Uskonnolliset erimielisyydet repivät kansaa, sota Skotlannin kanssa jatkuu jatkumistaan ja koko maan talous uhkaa romahtaa. Kuninkaan kuoltua veitsenterävä Matthew Shardlake on työskennellyt tämän tyttären, Lady Elizabethin palveluksessa. Kun Elizabethin sukulainen murhataan, Shardlaken on matkustettava selvittämään rikosta. Kun tapaukseen liittyvät mysteerit alkavat valjeta, talonpoikien kapina puhkeaa. Murhalla näyttää olevan kytköksiä niin kapinallisleiriin kuin Norfolkin säätyläisiin. Kun kansannousu jakaa Shardlaken lähipiirin kahtia, hän on kohtalokkaiden valintojen edessä.

30 review for Tombland

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annet

    My life will change utterly Since my sinful eyes saw this noble land so much admired... Shardlake is back! So good..... Loved this book, took it slow... Big five stars, loved it! Great history and crime fiction, of the highest quality and entertaining value. Sansom is without doubt a very talented writer and has created a really great series starring the integer hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. And Jack Barak... What can I say... loved it! But man.... 866 pages... is a big book!! Quite difficul My life will change utterly Since my sinful eyes saw this noble land so much admired... Shardlake is back! So good..... Loved this book, took it slow... Big five stars, loved it! Great history and crime fiction, of the highest quality and entertaining value. Sansom is without doubt a very talented writer and has created a really great series starring the integer hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. And Jack Barak... What can I say... loved it! But man.... 866 pages... is a big book!! Quite difficult to read a few pages in bed before going to bed.... More than once I lost control and the book went to the floor.... But... well worth it, well worth it. Although, if I were to have some comment, it would be that maybe a thorough edit would have made the story a bit more sharp and fast paced. But then, I rather liked the pace and the attention to detail. Will return with more as usual. Highly recommended for all you history fiction fans out there! Wish I could continue immediately with the next adventure of Shardlake, in the service maybe of Elizabeth. Important, I would like to wish Mr. Sansom all the best... Great short NYTimes review by Marilyn Stasio: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/bo...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beata

    This long-awaited 7th novel in the Matthew Shardlake series is based around 1549 Kett's Rebellion and a mystery murder which Matthew is asked by the Lady Elizabeth to investigate. As the Author himself admits, the Rebellion is not as famous as the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. We are presented with the reasons behind the rebellion, we meet some historic figures and we get to know how the rebellion progressed. Incredibly interesting! I discovered CJ Sansom many years ago and read all his books as the This long-awaited 7th novel in the Matthew Shardlake series is based around 1549 Kett's Rebellion and a mystery murder which Matthew is asked by the Lady Elizabeth to investigate. As the Author himself admits, the Rebellion is not as famous as the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. We are presented with the reasons behind the rebellion, we meet some historic figures and we get to know how the rebellion progressed. Incredibly interesting! I discovered CJ Sansom many years ago and read all his books as they were published, so I've followed Shardlake for 15 years now ..... it might seem that the same pattern applied in the series would prove boring at some point, which is often the case, but far from that! I thoroughly enjoy learning about history and solving mysteries with Matthew. And I hope there will be more! CJ Sansom gives us historical fiction which is both entertaining and educational.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Another totally brilliant book in this wonderful series by C.J. Sansom. I have missed Matthew Shardlake while we have been waiting for this next adventure to be published but I guess it takes a while to write 850 perfect pages! Takes a while to read them too:) No skimming allowed or even needed when the author writes this well. This is historical fiction at its best. One reviewer I read likened this book to Wolf Hall and I agree. The time period here is just after Henry V111's death and the coun Another totally brilliant book in this wonderful series by C.J. Sansom. I have missed Matthew Shardlake while we have been waiting for this next adventure to be published but I guess it takes a while to write 850 perfect pages! Takes a while to read them too:) No skimming allowed or even needed when the author writes this well. This is historical fiction at its best. One reviewer I read likened this book to Wolf Hall and I agree. The time period here is just after Henry V111's death and the country is in limbo with a boy king and his uncle acting as protector. Matthew is working for Lady Elizabeth, Henry's 15 year old daughter. The book revolves around Kett's Peasant rebellion and events take place mostly at Norwich which was at that time the second largest city in England. It was like meeting old friends to get together again with Matthew, Barak and Nicholas. They endure some real hardships along the way and witness terrible scenes. The author brings to life what it must have been like to be part of the uprising and its eventual downfall. There is an interesting ending too with a couple of new characters and a hint of a possible change in Matthew's way of life. Brilliant.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    The essential problem with this book is that it didn't know whether it wanted to be an extended account of the Kett Rebellion told via the characters we all know and love from the series, or a murder mystery. It certainly failed in its aim to be both. The apparent driver of the plot is the surprising discovery of a woman long thought dead. When Edith is found murdered in sickening circumstances, her last port of call at the home of young Elizabeth is cause for concern. Shardlake is dispatched wi The essential problem with this book is that it didn't know whether it wanted to be an extended account of the Kett Rebellion told via the characters we all know and love from the series, or a murder mystery. It certainly failed in its aim to be both. The apparent driver of the plot is the surprising discovery of a woman long thought dead. When Edith is found murdered in sickening circumstances, her last port of call at the home of young Elizabeth is cause for concern. Shardlake is dispatched with conflicting instructions: find out who did it but don't make too much noise. How anyone at this point could imagine he could investigate anything without making enough racket to wake the dead is beyond me, but that's the premise. Essentially though, this gets sidelined by his being swept up in the political and social turmoil of the day, a violent response to land enclosures forming one of many complaints against the nobility and rich landowners, inciting widespread uprisings across England. Now this is a thrilling period of incredible change and importance, but the author loses sight of the main story in his enjoyment of the background. It's not until around 76 per cent that the reader discovers where Edith might have been stashed and the clues to this are dropped so heavily early on that the revelation provokes nothing more than a sigh of relief. The middle was all meetings and scenes of justification for the rebels. And don't even get me started on the the way the brutal ending was contrived to create a perfect set of circumstances for Shardlake to live happily ever after. Each time one part of the story took the focus, the other fell so far from the stage that it practically disappeared, meaning that neither had the appeal it should. I slogged through it and felt the effort of every page. By the end, I couldn't have cared less about either aspect. This is far from his best, but nevertheless works as a way into the ideas and people behind the revolts of the mid 1500s. ARC via Netgalley

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Robert Collins

    Like all his books this is direct follow on from his others this starts in January 1549 when Elizabeth I is only 15. Edward VI who is king in name only as he is only 11 so Seymour ,Duke of Somerset is the real "king" lord Protector . Here once again Lord Richard Rich Lord Chancellor is out to get Shardlake . This set around Peasant uprisings & Sansom points out that last part of the book is all true. In this once again Religious freedom come one of central Points & the pig in the middle is T Like all his books this is direct follow on from his others this starts in January 1549 when Elizabeth I is only 15. Edward VI who is king in name only as he is only 11 so Seymour ,Duke of Somerset is the real "king" lord Protector . Here once again Lord Richard Rich Lord Chancellor is out to get Shardlake . This set around Peasant uprisings & Sansom points out that last part of the book is all true. In this once again Religious freedom come one of central Points & the pig in the middle is The Host .Things are changing no longer are people been executed for not believing in the Truth of the wine & the bread'. This also about Mary who was Queen before Elizabeth & hated her. This about common land, cattle, sheep & farmers but The biggest problem with this is you need to be in the mood to read it. You need to really, really understand that period in History you need to be able to think & feel like The poor bastards of this time. You need to remember that there was beer for breakfast, greasy fatty foods, no health care no clean water. I don't want to sound snobbish but But For some people this crime book is way over their heads I say it is NOT for the casual reader because you spend weeks Googling things. It is for the Shakespeare buff the lover of both pull your hair out crime & The Wolf Hall lovers Lot of mind puzzles, to make you think which what is so good about C J 's books. .I prefer the books as an epileptic & having bad vertigo Specsaves advised me not to use Kindle I found it gave me blinding headache & too much gave me dizziness & very good chance of a fit. So I not be getting one. This very complex but Its full of action, We now coming to the meat of this book the uprising of the Peasants over farming lands this all based on truth .To make the story more than just book about the rebellions he has created a crime mystery & not other way round. The biggest problem with this is that the print is bit small. He has gone to much about Captain Kett & Mouehold Heath that there is little action., it is interesting but Also is bit boring too. He could have cut it down. I find that Nicholas Is like old man Steptoe very Torie yet you would expect him to be for the farmers This has lot of the feel of Barnaby Rudge even down to the mental retarded boy. Rudge was about the corn laws this about open fields both difficult for person today to wonder why anybody would fight over boxing a field in.This too much it is a murder lost in forrest of history , its just too much taking me far too long because it is waffling on. He did not need at least 200ps too much. Not saying it isn't good its so fuck long The end of this book as we were told at the start is all based on true facts and is utterly horrible. A early look at the great division between upper class & lower class. That again blow up in the English Civil war. Unlucky for me I guessed who the murder was lot earlier than was revealed. I also love that he has left the hint of a way he may move on to Elizabethan ages too. But You have read the book to find out I not into spoilers Sweety.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susanna - Censored by GoodReads

    How I envy those who will read this in October, rather than April, as is the doom of those of us Sansom fans in the United States. ETA: Just ordered from Book Depository! Thanks very much, Hunter. ETA2: And they just refunded me, as were "unable to deliver your order." Back to the drawing board.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    ‘Was there ever such a year as this?’ There was a lot of speculation about whether this book would be completed and I was so hopeful and impatient for it to be. And then, here it was. An enormous tome. It was wonderful and for the first time in this series, about a period and time I knew almost nothing about. Shardlake et al get swept up into the politics and upheaval of Kent’s rebellion, while investigating a case in Norwich. This is a book to savour- the details are so evocative and detailed, s ‘Was there ever such a year as this?’ There was a lot of speculation about whether this book would be completed and I was so hopeful and impatient for it to be. And then, here it was. An enormous tome. It was wonderful and for the first time in this series, about a period and time I knew almost nothing about. Shardlake et al get swept up into the politics and upheaval of Kent’s rebellion, while investigating a case in Norwich. This is a book to savour- the details are so evocative and detailed, so well written, that even when a part of me was huffing and puffing at the actual case seemingly pushed to the side by the rebellion, the descriptions and character portraits of the incidental characters kept me thoroughly absorbed. Let’s hope there’s more to come.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Well this has been quite a journey. For Shardlake literally and for me in reading this vast work. Of course it can't be less than 5 stars. I'm very impressed with all the research and as always Mr. Sansom makes me feel as if I'm living in his book. Yet the middle part dragged somewhat so it took me long to get through it. But chapeau to the author, especially under the circumstances.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Been saving this for a few months now, kinda working up some steam/stamina to read it as it’s a solid looking brick.... and I can’t shake the feeling that this is gonna be overtly long.....? With that feeling entrenched I have to say it took me around two sittings, about 70 pages, to get into a rhythm with the book which was helped with the re-emergence of some of the old characters from the prior book, Guy & then Tamasin followed soon after by Barak. There has been much change in Shardlake’s Been saving this for a few months now, kinda working up some steam/stamina to read it as it’s a solid looking brick.... and I can’t shake the feeling that this is gonna be overtly long.....? With that feeling entrenched I have to say it took me around two sittings, about 70 pages, to get into a rhythm with the book which was helped with the re-emergence of some of the old characters from the prior book, Guy & then Tamasin followed soon after by Barak. There has been much change in Shardlake’s life since the prior book & the style of writing even seemed diffo early on. Then the familiarity returns, I’m warming to his new employees & the location of Norwich being the setting for the “investigation” but at jus over 200 pages I couldn’t help wondering how the near 700 left was going to play out & keep me fully engaged! Especially when the trial revolving around the murder mystery had started with still 600+ to go! It’s all about the long game...... Stories within stories, threads being weaved around Shardlake as he resolutely goes about his business as a lawyer, always fully engrossed in his task, sometimes much to his own jeopardy, as his doggedness to solve a crime & seek justice whilst keeping his integrity intact is put above all else. Not everyone has his high moral compass & sense of justice, which is one of the many things I love about his character in this series. And in this story there are many who are opposed to him, the political machinations run deep....... I was fully immersed....... However, I have to mention that the main story then goes on sabbatical whilst the Kett rebellion/uprising takes place and for quite a while we're in a state of limbo as Shardlake is held against his will within the camp.... was it really pertinent to the story or jus an event used to string the book out....? It actually takes jus over 100 pages afore we are confronted with something relevant to the case..... so I err with the later especially as even reading onwards events surrounding the case are very few & far between, it feels like we’re treading water I must say.... and Im starting to drift.... I’m even forgetting what the original story was about..... which was now about 250 pages ago.... which is the length of read before we are back with the main thrust of the story, albeit it doesn’t really form the main story until much later...... Actually I would ask at this point is the murder mystery the main part of the story anymore? Or is it the rebellion? Who knows... I certainly don’t! This book reminds me of “Sovereign” where we had the long march of the “progress” which for me dragged rather than added to the story, this feels the same wrt to the adding of the rebellion element which took around 250 pages of an 800 page book to establish in the story, call it a third if you will.... eventually the rebellion overwhelming the original mystery story as you plough onwards.... we eventually get to the crux of the matter with the mystery and I have to say that finding out the murderer was like a massive anti climax, I felt like oh right, there yer go, thank feck that's all done with..... only no! There's still a ways to go yet..... another 100+ pages...... and despite the book being 800+ pages, the ending seemed even rushed with it’s multi-parts & wrapping up around the characters leaving me feeling quite unsatisfied come journey’s end & time invested in this book. If this was my first Shardlake i’m not sure I’d be back due to the structure of the story & it’s unwieldy length which made it a bit of a slog to read. As to the score, as I’ve grown to love the character I still find myself giving it 3.25 stars (rounded down to 3), can’t really slate it but nor will I get overly enthused about it & jus high score the great parts giving it a five, this being an overall score. I’ll finish up by saying it was at times probably my least favourite of the whole Shardlake series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Sinclair

    Well-written as ever, but SO long. The first 400 pages are concerned with the murder mystery, then it segues into being more a historical novel covering a rebellion for the next 350 pages or so, so it takes nearly 800 pages to solve a fairly simple murder mystery. The historical story itself is compelling, and the murder fairly so, but it falls badly between two stools, and could have done with being significantly shorter.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    I didn't think I would ever get the chance to review a Matthew Shardlake book, I thought the series had finished so to get another one was very exciting I've never been one to shy away from a big book, in fact often the opposite I love nothing more than a big book I can sink my teeth into. But it has to be engaging and that is where this book fell short. The murder often felt totally sidelined by the events of Ketts rebellion, which is something I knew nothing about before reading this book. Alt I didn't think I would ever get the chance to review a Matthew Shardlake book, I thought the series had finished so to get another one was very exciting I've never been one to shy away from a big book, in fact often the opposite I love nothing more than a big book I can sink my teeth into. But it has to be engaging and that is where this book fell short. The murder often felt totally sidelined by the events of Ketts rebellion, which is something I knew nothing about before reading this book. Although the events of the rebellion are interesting they are not what I came to this book looking for, and for long passages the narrative simply dragged. The events surrounding the murder just felt like they where crammed in at the very end, like the author had remembered about the murder and had to tie up events very quickly I enjoyed meeting familiar faces again, especially Matthew the protagonist but in this one it felt like he was less of himself. Content a lot of the way to allow things to happen to him rather than striving to enact the changes he wanted to see in the books before. While I understand this based on where he found himself it still grated to watch him just allow others to make all his decisions for him rather than stand up for himself Overall disappointing. I hope if we get another book it doesn't take as long, and is better than this one

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    One of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint - staggeringly good historical fiction, part of a series that finds something new to say about the Tudors. This time it's the rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, most particularly in Norwich and Norfolk. Sansom achieves something remarkable - a novel that is so full of historical detail and colour, its descriptions so vivid, that it pays to take your time and visualise what you're reading. It feels like events a One of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint - staggeringly good historical fiction, part of a series that finds something new to say about the Tudors. This time it's the rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, most particularly in Norwich and Norfolk. Sansom achieves something remarkable - a novel that is so full of historical detail and colour, its descriptions so vivid, that it pays to take your time and visualise what you're reading. It feels like events are taking place all around you. Brilliant. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Richard Pierce

    Where the first six of the Shardlake series were very very good, this is outstanding. It's a towering achievement of a book. Consciously or unconsciously, this is an indictment of the English class system of tgen and now, an indictment of austerity, of politicians, and of Brexit. It also portrays the dilemma of many - support of radical reform mixed with fear of change and loss. Where the previous 6 books were firmly historical fiction anchored in the time described, Tombland is one of those rar Where the first six of the Shardlake series were very very good, this is outstanding. It's a towering achievement of a book. Consciously or unconsciously, this is an indictment of the English class system of tgen and now, an indictment of austerity, of politicians, and of Brexit. It also portrays the dilemma of many - support of radical reform mixed with fear of change and loss. Where the previous 6 books were firmly historical fiction anchored in the time described, Tombland is one of those rare historical novels which draws a dirct line from what was then to what is now. Matthew Shardlake is one of the great protagonists of modern historical fiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the settings of Tombland I'm not going to lie. This was a monster of a book even for me. A tomb of a read ironically at over 840 pages. But do you know what? It's CJ Sansom and the time passed quickly as I was sucked into a medieval world of intrigue and murder. There’s a lot to enjoy here, and not just with the plot. Around you as you read, there are battles, conspiracies and talk of royal intrigue. Shardlake has a murder to solve and then another body turns up... The rebellions of 1549 dur Visit the settings of Tombland I'm not going to lie. This was a monster of a book even for me. A tomb of a read ironically at over 840 pages. But do you know what? It's CJ Sansom and the time passed quickly as I was sucked into a medieval world of intrigue and murder. There’s a lot to enjoy here, and not just with the plot. Around you as you read, there are battles, conspiracies and talk of royal intrigue. Shardlake has a murder to solve and then another body turns up... The rebellions of 1549 during the reign of Edward VI are what drives the novel and the events of Tombland in historical Norwich. I had no idea this was a real place but I’ve worn out Google Maps finding out as much as I can about it. I know it so well now - well the 1549 version. How exciting it will be to see the modern day version and Sansom’s version at the same time. There’s a keen sense of chaos in the novel but when you have a king who is only eleven years old...the country is in turmoil and there is religious turmoil as well. No one seems safe. Even everyday life is getting harder as the financial state of the country is in free fall. You get a keen sense of all of this in the novel and it’s like wandering down the streets yourself, the sights, sounds and godforsaken smells all the more real as you walk on. Shardlake works as a lawyer for Henry’s VIII’s daughter Elizabeth and the Boleyn name comes back into play when  a distant relative from Norfolk is found murdered. Of course, Shardlake is the man for the job, but this is unlike anything he has been asked to do before. It’s a very visual novel - from the chaotic market scenes to the cumbersome journeys the characters have to undertake to get to Tombland, the inns they stop at on the way and the cells of Norwich castle....it’s a world of medieval wonder and mixes historical fact, peasant revolt and the true meaning of loyalty. And within all of this, a strong plot worthy of the Shardlake name. Read it slowly, take it in and allow yourself to be submerged into a historically fascinating world.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    It's amazing the things you learn from TV. I was watching Craig Ferguson's late night show one night and he started talking about an amazing author and a great series of books. The author was CJ Sansom and the series was Matthew Shardlake. I followed up his recommendation and I am so glad I did. I love this series and this latest entry is outstanding. Tombland is set in 1549 and Shardlake is given an assignment by Princess Elizabeth. A distant relative of hers is arrested for the murder of his It's amazing the things you learn from TV. I was watching Craig Ferguson's late night show one night and he started talking about an amazing author and a great series of books. The author was CJ Sansom and the series was Matthew Shardlake. I followed up his recommendation and I am so glad I did. I love this series and this latest entry is outstanding. Tombland is set in 1549 and Shardlake is given an assignment by Princess Elizabeth. A distant relative of hers is arrested for the murder of his wife and she wants him to investigate it and, if necessary, give the Protector a request for a pardon for him. Shardlake and his associate, Nicholas, set off for Norwich. The murder is particularly messy. The dead woman has been missing and presumed dead for 9 years. The husband has remarried and now that marriage is invalid. As Shardlake tries to sort out the mess, there is a peasant uprising and he and Nicholas are caught in the middle of it. Also his former associate, Barak, is swept up too. The Kettle uprising is quite famous but I had never heard of it. The Protector of Edward VI has made overtures to the poor that the peasants think he actually means. They decide to get ready for the sweeping changes they think the Protector will actually make (hint-never believe a politician). Shardlake is forced to act as legal adviser for the trials the rebels are holding. There are lots of old and new characters. His former maid, Josephine, and her husband have a role. Shardlake makes lots of new of new friends in the rebel camp. He gains a grudging respect for the Kettle rule and the laws and regulations they have established. They are so much better than what the establishment has to offer. He also makes plenty of unpleasant enemies. This is thoroughly captivating read of an important time in English history. It really makes you examine what could have happened if capable men had been allowed to lead. I found it quite relevant to what is happening now. I was impressed at just how clueless the leaders really were. Princess Mary was so blinded by her own concerns that she thought it was about the English prayer book. Not even close. The Protector was clueless about how angry the peasants were and what his relentless campaign against the Scots was doing to the country. Stupid, stupid people. If you are looking for a nuanced, comprehensive look at history with an interesting mystery then you will love this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    I really enjoyed this latest mystery in one of my favorite historical mystery series. As has been the case in every book in this excellent series, Sansom immerses his hero, London lawyer Matthew Shardlake, in historical events as he attempts to solve a mystery. Here, the event is Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk in 1549; following the death of Henry VIII, Shardlake has been working for his younger daughter Lady Elizabeth, third in line to the throne. When Henry died, his son Edward became king, but he I really enjoyed this latest mystery in one of my favorite historical mystery series. As has been the case in every book in this excellent series, Sansom immerses his hero, London lawyer Matthew Shardlake, in historical events as he attempts to solve a mystery. Here, the event is Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk in 1549; following the death of Henry VIII, Shardlake has been working for his younger daughter Lady Elizabeth, third in line to the throne. When Henry died, his son Edward became king, but he is only 11 years old, so his uncle, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as regent and Protector. Religious conflict still abounds, the endless war with Scotland is emptying coffers, the economy is about to collapse, and peasants are ready to revolt. Shardlake works mostly on acquiring land for Elizabeth, but is summoned to her and asked to investigate the gruesome murder of the wife of a distant relative. The woman had visited Elizabeth to seek help, and was viciously murdered shortly afterward; while Elizabeth and those around her are anxious to avoid scandal, she wants to ensure justice is done, and Shardlake and his assistant head to Norwich to investigate. While there, Shardlake encounters some of the most memorable villains Sansom has created - and that’s saying something! He also gets sucked into the brewing rebellion, which took place on the outskirts of Norwich in the summer of 1549. I was so glad to see Sansom return with his character Matthew Shardlake. I have read every book in the series, and always find them engrossing, excellently researched, and very well written. This book raises Sansom’s exceedingly high bar for historical mysteries even higher, as I learned after reading the historical essay at the back of the book. Historical records are limited as to life inside the rebel encampment, so Sansom used his extensive research and imagination to recreate how the rebels built and ran the camp for several weeks before being brutally put down by the Earl of Warwick and his army. As ever, Shardlake is a conscientious and tireless investigator and advocate; even as the tension builds relentlessly to a bloody and inevitable climax, even as he is forced to work alongside the rebels in the encampment, he still attempts to carry on the investigation of the murder! When it is finally solved, amid the brutality of the final battle, Sansom delivers a tidy solution, but as with past books, realistically leaves the door open to possible future conflict with cunning adversaries. Also, the end of this book hints at possible changes to Shardlake’s solitary life; I can’t wait to see where future books might take this wonderful character! I loved this huge, epic adventure, and the opportunity to once again immerse myself in the complex, vivid, yet vicious life of Tudor England with these wonderful characters who have become like old friends. I hope Sansom will give us another excellent mystery soon - I can see so much scope for future mysteries and intrigues as Elizabeth takes the throne, and hopefully brings Shardlake and company (at least Nicholas and Barak) along for the ride!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    An England ripe for rebellion... It’s the summer of 1549, and young King Edward VI is on the throne following the death of Henry VIII two years earlier. Since Edward is still a child, the guardians appointed by Henry have in turn appointed a Protector to rule in his stead, his uncle Edward Seymour. There is great poverty in the towns and cities while, in the farming lands of the north and west, landlords are enclosing common land for their own sheep, fermenting unrest amongst the smallholders and An England ripe for rebellion... It’s the summer of 1549, and young King Edward VI is on the throne following the death of Henry VIII two years earlier. Since Edward is still a child, the guardians appointed by Henry have in turn appointed a Protector to rule in his stead, his uncle Edward Seymour. There is great poverty in the towns and cities while, in the farming lands of the north and west, landlords are enclosing common land for their own sheep, fermenting unrest amongst the smallholders and tenant farmers who relied on that land to eke out their own precarious living. Throw in the usual religious turmoil – the new Book of Common Prayer has just been foisted on a population tired of constant change and with newly developed religious opinions of their own – and an unpopular and unwinnable war against those pesky Scots, and the time is ripe for rebellion. It’s at this moment that Shardlake is summoned by his new patron, Princess Elizabeth, to investigate a murder of which one of her distant Boleyn relatives stands accused. And so he must head for Norwich, a city that will soon be at the heart of the East Anglian rebellion, led by the charismatic Robert Kett... Generally speaking, when I see that a book has 800 pages I groan and run in the opposite direction. But with Sansom, I sigh and wish it was a few hundred pages longer. His ability to create an entirely immersive and believable Tudor world is second to none, partly because his own background as a historian means that the history is accurate. Sure, he manipulates it a little for literary purposes and he uses his imagination to fill in historical blanks, but he never strays far from actual events; and his characters are equally well and credibly depicted, whether they are real or fictional. Matthew Shardlake, as fans know, is a decent man with real empathy for the poor and disadvantaged, so it’s no surprise that this is a sympathetic portrayal of Kett’s Rebellion, showing him and his followers in a light that may be a little more idealistic than was really likely. But I bow to Sansom’s greater knowledge – maybe they did behave as well as he suggests – and I bow even more deeply to his skill in story-telling, because I was happy to buy into the idea of Kett as a principled leader and his followers as mostly disciplined and fair-minded men and women. The bulk of the book is spent with the rebels, as Shardlake and his young assistant Nicholas get caught up in events. Nicholas is a son of a landowner, so has a different opinion from Shardlake initially, although his viewpoint is shaken as he is forced to witness some of the cruelties the poor are forced to suffer at the hands of the ruling class. Sansom uses him, though, to give the other side – to make the case for the landowners. Jack Barak is back, too, coping well after the events of the previous book. Being from lower stock himself, he is naturally drawn to the rebels, so with all three of the companions standing at different heights on the social ladder, it’s unclear whether their friendship will be enough to hold them together when the fighting begins. The murder plot is how the book begins and ends, and it rumbles on as a background to the rebellion plot in the lengthy mid-section, but Sansom never allows it to be lost sight of entirely. John Boleyn, a landowner and distant cousin of Anne Boleyn, stands accused of murdering his first wife, Edith. Edith had left him and disappeared some years earlier, and he had eventually had her declared dead and married again. But now Edith’s newly murdered body has been found, displayed in a sordid fashion near John’s estate. Shardlake must find out where she’s been for the last nine years, and who, other than John and his second wife, might have wanted her dead. The personal lives of the recurring characters are brought up to date, too. Jack’s relationship with his wife Tamasin is rocky, partly because she’s never forgiven Shardlake for the events in the last book (avoiding spoilers, apologies for vagueness). Young Nicholas is of an age to consider marrying and Matthew is concerned that he seems to have set his heart on a woman Matthew thinks is shallow and unworthy of him. Guy is old now and ill, and Matthew fears he may soon lose the man he considers his closest friend. And Matthew himself is feeling rather lonely. The old Queen, Catherine Parr, is dead and Matthew misses her more than a commoner should miss a queen. But he also misses his old servants, many of whom he had taken in as waifs and strays, and who have now grown up and left for lives of their own. So one of the things he wants to do in Norwich is look up his old maidservant Josephine, now married and living in the city. The last time she wrote to him, she was expecting her first child and he’s worried that it’s been some months and he’s heard no more. This is another completely satisfying addition to the series, confirming again my belief that Sansom is the best historical fiction writer certainly today and perhaps ever. He tells his story in a straightforward linear way, without stylistic quirks or “creative” writing, relying instead on creating a great historical setting founded on in-depth research, a strong plot, and a group of brilliantly depicted characters who have all the complexity of real, flawed humanity. Shardlake himself continues to be one of the most appealing characters in fiction – irascible, often lonely, occasionally a little self-pitying, but intelligent, determined, dedicated, charitable and wholeheartedly loyal to those he takes into his generous heart. If I ever stand accused of murder, I hope I have a Shardlake to depend on. A great book in a brilliant series – my highest recommendation! NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Mantle, an imprint of Pan MacMillan. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    This tremendous book is the 7th volume of the amazing "Matthew Shardlake" series from the author C.J. Sansom. Let me first tell you that the historical details concerning this story are superbly implemented by the author, and explained in a very wonderful fashion. Secondly on the inside cover of the book you'll notice a beautiful drawn map in colour of Norwich and Mousehold Heath in AD 1549, because this place and its surroundings, including the battle site, are playing the mayor role of Kett's Re This tremendous book is the 7th volume of the amazing "Matthew Shardlake" series from the author C.J. Sansom. Let me first tell you that the historical details concerning this story are superbly implemented by the author, and explained in a very wonderful fashion. Secondly on the inside cover of the book you'll notice a beautiful drawn map in colour of Norwich and Mousehold Heath in AD 1549, because this place and its surroundings, including the battle site, are playing the mayor role of Kett's Rebellion in East Anglia, England, of AD 1549, in this wonderfully written book, while at the beginning you'll find also a well documented Author's Note, as well as the speaking words of, Ralph Claxton, a Norfolk Parish clerk, who was executed for those words in AD 1550. While at the end of the book you'll find a very extensive and delightful Historical Essay (Endnotes) concerning this great historical mystery story. Story-telling from this author is of a top-notch quality, for if an author can keep the reader spellbound from start to finish with a book of well over 800 pages then he's a true storyteller to me, because also all the characters involved, whether they are real historical or wonderful fictional ones, come vividly to life with real lifelike interaction in this story, while also the battle scenes are superbly pictured and described in this astounding book about Kett's Rebellion in Norfolk of AD 1549. The book starts off with an intriguing prologue set in January, in the year AD 1549, and where our main fictional character Matthew Shardlake is shortly interrogated by the Lord Chancellor of England, Richard Rich, with in attendance the rising figure of William Cecil, about treasonous acts by Lord Thomas Seymour, the Protector's brother, and widower/late husband of the now late Lady, and former Queen, Catherine Parr. The first part is mainly set in London, June AD 1549, but an important visit to the Lady Elizabeth and her Comptroller, Master Thomas Parry at Hatfield Palace will set events in motion, due because of the death of the long lost Edith Boleyn, who had come to Elizabeth for help, and her husband John Boleyn who's a distant relative of Elizabeth, who's has been accused of Edith's murder, and there Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton are summoned by both the Lady Elizabeth and Master Thomas Parry to follow the proceedings of the Norwich Assizes, and for Matthew Shardlake to do whatever he can to help John Boleyn in this case. The second part is mainly set in and around Norwich, and there Matthew Shardlake is investigating the murder of Edith Boleyn, and its there that he will meet his former assistant, Jack Barak, again, and together with Nicholas Overton and Toby Lockswood, they will to try to find the real murderer(s), while at the same time unrest in brewing more and more amongst the peasantry, because of their unfair treatment by the rich and powerful establishment within the county and country. What will follow is an astonishing tale about the civil unrest, what will eventually become a revolt and battles will follow between the followers of the brothers Kett, Robert and William, and the King/Protector's forces, with the inevitable end result, and intertwined within these horrible and bloody troubling circumstances Matthew Shardlake will come to the conclusion of his investigations and find the murderer(s), in this world of political intrigue, power struggle, heroism and backstabbing, as well as loyalty and betrayal. Very much recommended, for this is a tremendous crafted mystery set in Norfolk, intertwined with a story about England in turmoil, written in an astounding fashion, and that's why I call it: "A Truly Magnificent Masterpiece"!

  19. 4 out of 5

    John Wiltshire

    I'm not so much reading this as living through it. Five stars would never be enough to rate this remarkable, superb experience. I've loved every single one of the Shardlake novels. Each one is a masterclass in how to write good historical novels. This one is no exception. The basic story is always a mystery, a crime, which Matthew is called upon to solve. But the solution always gets him mixed up with the wider political events of the day. It's the mix of the normal, everyday people and the grea I'm not so much reading this as living through it. Five stars would never be enough to rate this remarkable, superb experience. I've loved every single one of the Shardlake novels. Each one is a masterclass in how to write good historical novels. This one is no exception. The basic story is always a mystery, a crime, which Matthew is called upon to solve. But the solution always gets him mixed up with the wider political events of the day. It's the mix of the normal, everyday people and the great political movements that make these books so incredibly fascinating. And never once do we get author exposition--the author proving how much research he's done by stuffing it all in. Reading Shardlake is like being there--things are just how they are, natural and quite unaffectedly introduced. These people are just like us: they have the same desires, the same mix of good and bad in them. Sure, they are fighting about whether the transmutation is real or metaphor; they are obsessed with enclosures and the rights of the serfs, but our current issues of multiculturalism and the like will seem just as distant to future readers. Sansom has the ability to make us care, which is the hallmark of a great author. There is a real mystery at the heart of this novel--who killed Edith Boleyn. Edith was a distant relative by marriage of the Lady Elizabeth, Matthew's new employer. Edith had been missing, presumed dead, for nine years before her murder. Where was she during these missing years? Who had motive to kill her on her unexpected return? Her husband, John Boleyn, now remarried, seems the obvious suspect. Elizabeth, however, cannot afford the whiff of scandal his execution would send her way. On arriving in Norwich to begin his enquiries however, Matthew soon realises he's got bigger worries than poor Edith's murder: he's caught up in the middle of a peasants' revolt against the landowners. I'm 60% into this one and wishing it would never end, but as always, I'll update when it inevitably does... Finished. You could not wish for a better reading experience. Do not miss these wonderful, wonderful novels.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    Matthew Shardlake is recruited by Elizabeth to investigate the accusations of murder against her distant relative John Boleyn. He is supposed to have bludgeoned his wife Edith and left her on horrible display. Up in Norwich he is drawn into an uprising from commoners against unfair treatment. This is a very long book with a slack middle. Still, I felt a close connection to Shardlake and his crew. The murder of Edith is quite fascinating. The details of the peasant uprising didn't add all that muc Matthew Shardlake is recruited by Elizabeth to investigate the accusations of murder against her distant relative John Boleyn. He is supposed to have bludgeoned his wife Edith and left her on horrible display. Up in Norwich he is drawn into an uprising from commoners against unfair treatment. This is a very long book with a slack middle. Still, I felt a close connection to Shardlake and his crew. The murder of Edith is quite fascinating. The details of the peasant uprising didn't add all that much to the story, but since it's based on historical facts it was interesting enough. I even teared up a bit at the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)

    Looooved it. Next one soon please. Don’t leave me hanging Mr Sansom.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Tombland (2018)—its title is taken from an upscale residential area in 16th century Norwich, England—is the seventh in C. J. Sansom's massive historical crime novels starring the hunchback Matthew Shardlake, a Serjeant (lawyer in the Court of Common Pleas, or land court) in Lincoln's Inn, one of London's most prestigious law organizations. Shardlake is not a criminal lawyer, but he is a skilled and highly-regarded investigator and a very decent person to boot. This 800-page novel is well worth t Tombland (2018)—its title is taken from an upscale residential area in 16th century Norwich, England—is the seventh in C. J. Sansom's massive historical crime novels starring the hunchback Matthew Shardlake, a Serjeant (lawyer in the Court of Common Pleas, or land court) in Lincoln's Inn, one of London's most prestigious law organizations. Shardlake is not a criminal lawyer, but he is a skilled and highly-regarded investigator and a very decent person to boot. This 800-page novel is well worth the time for anyone with an interest in murder, English history, and the rigid social caste system in early England—and an appreciation for good writing. The time is Tudor England, the year is 1549. England is in turmoil: intense struggles for kingship following Henry VIII's death, complicated by his siring of contenders with different mothers; a war in Scotland, France's longtime ally, that is not going well; the enclosure movement displacing both common lands in favor of landlords' sheep pastures and crop fields, and forcing unemployed rural peasants to go to the cities for work; intense social hostilities between landowners and tenants, between the wealthy and poor and between Catholics and Protestants; peasant uprisings. Some think that the End of Time has arrived. The Tombland murder investigations are a sort of teaser to lay the foundation for a fascinating general description of those times, and for an exposé of the most famous peasant uprising: the Kett Rebellion in Norfolk ending with the final battle at Dussindale in which Robert Kett's peasant army is defeated by the Earl of Warwick. Like Zelig, Matthew Shardlake was there! The author clearly has a point of view on these matters, and and his sensitivity to the peasants is easily adopted by the modern reader. But, to pick a nit, I'm not convinced that he is entirely correct on the historical record. For example, much is made of the ejection of peasants from the common lands used for grazing their animals by landlords intent on raising their incomes. Sansom adopts the historian Paul Mantoux's classic 1928 argument that the enclosure movement promoted the Industrial Revolution by forcing peasants off of the land and into the cities, where they became the labor force for emerging industries like textiles. But modern research casts doubt on this, indicating that during the enclosure movement the low of peasant labor was into, not out of, rural areas; yes, many left the country for the cities, but more left the cities for the country. But whatever the truth on the economic history of enclosures, they certainly left scars on the English society and economy—the novel describes the harsh life of the poor and the indifference of the affluent to that plight so painfully that you could weep; it represents English justice in those days as so harsh and so tilted in favor of the affluent, whether by sentiment or bribery, that the word "justice" doesn't apply. To view this through the eyes of a lawyer like Shardlake, who can judge the illegality as well as the immorality, adds to the impact. Background As is always true of British history, remembering the host of characters is a challenge; a brief summary is in order. Henry VII died in 1547 and his ten-year old son with Jane Seymour became Edward VI. With Edward's kingship his grandfather, Thomas Seymour, Duke of Somerset, became the Lord Protector (regent) and ruled the land in Edward's stead. Henry's two daughters—Mary, dammed by his first wife, the very Catholic Cathryn of Aragon, and the younger Elizabeth, dammed by his second wife, the very Protestant Ann Boleyn—would wait in the wings until Edward's death in 1553. On his deathbed Edward designated Lady Jane Grey as the next monarch, a tactic to forestall the return to Catholicism that the fervently religious and next-in-line Mary would bring. But this highly questionable transfer of power was short-lived: Mary deposed Jane after just nine days, taking the throne as Queen Mary I. During her brief five-year term she cruelly attempted to restore Catholicism, in the process toasting many a Protestant and earning the nickname "Bloody Mary." At Mary's death in 1558 the very Protestant but less pyromaniacal Elizabeth became Elizabeth I. Much of British history in that era was fraught with religious tensions. Henry had not really dispensed with Catholicism, he merely dispensed with the Pope but he maintained the religious observances. But Protestantism was on the rise and the country's religious commitments—the state religion—were unsettled. Not until 1559, just after Elizabeth's ascension, would the English Religious Settlement be enacted, creating the Anglican Church and making England officially Protestant. As we know, the state religion has been Anglican ever since, though the question was in doubt when, when following Elizabeth's death in 1603, Scotland and England were united and the Catholic James VI of Scotland became James I of England. The Tale Into this mix comes Serjeant Shardlake. At the request of the Princess Elizabeth he goes to solve a mysterious death in Norfolk County. Elizabeth has learned that a woman appeared at Hatfield Palace seeking a job; she claimed to be Edith Boleyn, whose husband, John Boleyn, had recently died. John Boleyn is Elizabeth's third cousin-once removed, making this a family matter. The woman was turned away by Master Parry, Elizabeth's head man, who interviewed the woman and found her "unreliable." A few days later that woman's body was found planted head-down in a mud bog on the exact border of land which John and his neighbors were vigorously disputing; she was nude and in a most unseemly display so the intent appeared o combine her death with her humiliation. Elizabeth learns of Edith's death following her visit, and of the arrest of John Boleyn as the murderer. She wants the truth and she instructs Master Parry to initiate an investigation ; Parry hires Matthew Shardlake for the job. Shardlake's preliminary investigation reveals that Edith Boleyn, wife of John Boleyn of Norfolk, had ompletely disappeared nine years earlier, in 1540. John was rumored to have a mistress at the time, and this might explain Edith's departure. He remarried as soon as soon as the seven years passed that were required before death Edith's death could be declared in the absence of a body. During those seven years he had lived in sin with his to-be-second wife. In spite of extensive searches, nothing was known of Edith from 1540 to 1549, when she appeared at Elizabeth's door. The recent discovery of Edith's newly-slain body raises several questions: Where was she over the last nine years? Why did she tell Master Parry that John was dead when he is very much alive? Who would have a motive to kill her as soon as she reappeared? Why was her body displayed in such a humiliating fashion? But, as ever, the husband is the suspect: Boleyn has been arrested for Edith's murder, though the evidence is scant and he has little motive: Edith's survival after his remarriage nullifies that remarriage and does nothing to enhance his position. The motives of others are clearly stronger—on his execution for murder his land will revert to the Crown and be up for grabs; his awful sons will get the land if their grandfather buys it, as he intends; and all this can be done without benefit of a just legal system. So Shardlake hies himself (and his assistant, Nicholas Overton) to the city of Norwich in Norfolk County, land of the Boleyn family, to get the dirt. Norfolk County a place known for vigorous disputations between neighbors; it is a center of conflict in a conflict-ridden country. He learns that John Boleyn has been in a tense land dispute with a neighbor, a Mr. Witherington. Witherington is enclosing land for sheep and is looking for new land to convert to commons for his tenants. This is at a time when property disputes are very common, there being poor property records, and strong financial incentives for landlords to enclose the commons to use the commons in more profitable ways . Shardlake will meet an unpleasant cast of characters in Norwich: Barnabas and Gerald Boleyn, twin sons of John and Edith, now age eighteen, are as evil a pair as can be found in literature; their grandfather, Edith's father and now their warder, aids and abets their cruelty. The twins testify for the prosecution at their father's trial for the "heinous" murder of their mother. You'll have no trouble predicting the verdict in an age when mere theft of anything worth more than a shilling is a capital offense regardless of the age, gender, or poverty of the offender. But the court verdict is not the end of the story. Shardlake has more cards to play as he works to exonerate Boleyn and to determine who murdered Edith, and why. We follow Shardlake through two additional murders related to Edith, and through his unwilling participation in the Robert Kett's Great Peasant Uprising of 1549 as Shardlake gets his answers in this rip-roaring adventure back in time. Five Stars.

  23. 4 out of 5

    AdiTurbo

    Somewhat too long and some parts not well-edited, but this is still Sansom, with his unfathomable depth of historical knowledge and research, and it is still Shardlake, although a bit less morally-sound than usual this time. I knew nothing about the Kett rebellion and was glad to find out that it happened and learn more about it. However, in many places I think stricter editing would have benefited the novel, as Sansom, in his enthusiasm, went too far in going into every little detail. Some part Somewhat too long and some parts not well-edited, but this is still Sansom, with his unfathomable depth of historical knowledge and research, and it is still Shardlake, although a bit less morally-sound than usual this time. I knew nothing about the Kett rebellion and was glad to find out that it happened and learn more about it. However, in many places I think stricter editing would have benefited the novel, as Sansom, in his enthusiasm, went too far in going into every little detail. Some parts were a little repetitive, as we the readers already got the sense of things, and did not need more information or scenes to help us get the full picture. The redundant details slowed down the natural flow of the reading and lowered the suspense. At some points it seemed like Sansom forgot all about the murder mystery and was much happier turning the novel into a proper history book, throwing some mentions here and there of the case Shardlake was there to investigate just because he had to. Shardlake was a little less well-defined in some scenes, and some other characters were not their usual selves as well, or only mentioned because it was expected (Guy, for one). There were plenty of interesting moral dilemmas, but Shardlake did not always make the best decisions or take the right moral stand when dealing with them. Maybe that makes him more human, but it felt like he wasn't exactly the same man we got to know in the previous books. Still, Sansom is still a wonderful writer, and although the reading was a bit more demanding, I thoroughly enjoyed it or I wouldn't have been able to stick with it for 800 pages.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Juliet Bookliterati

    Tombland is the most unexpected release for me this year as I thought Lamentation, the sixth book, was the last in his Shardlake Series. This now has to be the most anticipated book of the year for me, and I was very excited to receive a copy to review. Set in 1549, three years after the last book, Tombland sees Matthew Shardlake now working for The Lady Elizabeth as her lawyer. The three years have seen the death of Henry VIII and Catherine Parr, Shardlake's former employer and friend, and the y Tombland is the most unexpected release for me this year as I thought Lamentation, the sixth book, was the last in his Shardlake Series. This now has to be the most anticipated book of the year for me, and I was very excited to receive a copy to review. Set in 1549, three years after the last book, Tombland sees Matthew Shardlake now working for The Lady Elizabeth as her lawyer. The three years have seen the death of Henry VIII and Catherine Parr, Shardlake's former employer and friend, and the young Edward VI on the throne. Whilst some characters have died many of the familiar characters from the previous books return; Jack Barak, Nicholas Overton, Guy, William Cecil and Lord Richard Rich. Shardlake is bored with the legal work of land registration for Lady Elizabeth so jumps at the chance to go to Norfolk to look into the murder of a distant Boleyn relative of Elizabeth to ensure justice is achieved. Set against the peasant rebellions in Norfolk, Tombland is remarkable read, that combines fact and fiction seamlessly. Tombland refers to an area of Norwich where many of the gentleman and wealthy classes resided, and where Shardlake and Overton stay whilst on business in Norfolk. This book has so many layers to it, that weave themselves into a rich tapestry of prose.  Evelyn Boleyn has been murdered in s despicable way and her husband, John Boleyn is arrested for her murder, and Shardlake is charged with making sure the murder is fully investigated and if her relative John Boleyn is found guilty a pardon sent to the young King. Shardlake, Overton and Barak find themselves in Norfolk in a time of unrest, the poor starving due to bad crops and landowners taking common land from the lower classes to graze sheep.  This unrest led to rebellion by the peasants against the gentlemen land owners, with Norwich having the biggest rebellion camp.  Samsom's attention to detail and research brings the the tension between the two factions to life, also the smells and sights of camp life where over five thousand men and women were living: unwashed bodied in close proximity, animal carcass', the fires, food, and the horrors of war. As I have come to expect from C.J. Sansom the characters captivate your attention, and draw you into their lives.  Shardlake is still as dogged in his pursuit of justice at all costs.  He still has his side kick Barack and junior colleague Overton at his side, and meeting them again in this book felt like connecting with old friends.  There were also some memorable new characters including John Boleyn's sadistic twin sons, the corrupt Sir Richard Southwell, tyoung Simon Scrambler and the Kett brothers who were at the centre of the rebellion, all of whom add to the richness of this book, and offer varying viewpoints of the problems in sixteenth century England. Tombland is a large read at eight hundred and fifty pages long, but each of those pages is justified to be there, giving a depth and richness that make this book stand out from others. This really is one of those books that you fall into and almost forget to come up for air, so compelling and immersive is the plot and characters.  For me, C.J.Samsom is the master of Tudor historical fiction,  he brings the voices and atmosphere of the period vividly off the page and into your heart. So much more than just a murder mystery, Tombland is an erudite and brilliant read that builds to a catastrophic finale for all involved; a magnificent read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charles Haworth

    I love all the Shardlake books, and this one fits my bill. Less focused on the Machiavellian world of high politics this is a broader strokes look at the period of history and the turbulent social upheaval, revolts and changing landscape of society as well as still showing the general "Divine Right" of the noble class to be horrific bastards and still expect the world to owe them a living. The book starts with him being sent to deepest Norfolk to investigate a grisly murder of someone long presume I love all the Shardlake books, and this one fits my bill. Less focused on the Machiavellian world of high politics this is a broader strokes look at the period of history and the turbulent social upheaval, revolts and changing landscape of society as well as still showing the general "Divine Right" of the noble class to be horrific bastards and still expect the world to owe them a living. The book starts with him being sent to deepest Norfolk to investigate a grisly murder of someone long presumed dead. Not for justice but because the accused name links to the youthful Princess Elizabeth, and that just can become common knowledge and has to be controlled. The politics change as they reach the countryside, where enclose drives commoners versus nobles, initially via strong words and eventually into a massive rebellion that Shardlake finds himself involved and in the middle, whilst still trying to investigate the murder like a medieval Miss Marple. People die, rebellions happen and the world changes - this feels like history and seems to me as a non scholar as very much a picture of life in this time with a strong plot surrounding, all based on real things that happened and real people that did them. Glorious

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debs Carey

    I was really looking forward to this one, fearing that the Shardlake tales would end with the death of Henry VIII. I don't know whether there was too much anticipation, but I found myself speed reading too many sections for this to warrant more than 3 stars. Young Edward is on the throne with a committee of nobles doing the actual governing. Mary is next in line, with Elizabeth simply a Lady. Shardlake is bored doing property work and so responds to a call from Lady Elizabeth's adviser. This draw I was really looking forward to this one, fearing that the Shardlake tales would end with the death of Henry VIII. I don't know whether there was too much anticipation, but I found myself speed reading too many sections for this to warrant more than 3 stars. Young Edward is on the throne with a committee of nobles doing the actual governing. Mary is next in line, with Elizabeth simply a Lady. Shardlake is bored doing property work and so responds to a call from Lady Elizabeth's adviser. This draws him in to one of the regional uprisings where he finds his sympathy more with the worker rebels than the land-owning gentleman class. Whilst this does set us up for more Shardlake novels to come, I may not rush to pay full price for the next one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    3.5 stars. This is half murder mystery, half historical reenactment of the 1549 Kett Rebellion in Norfolk, England. It's very long and occasionally plodding, but if you liked the previous Shardlake books then you should like this one. It's set during the short reign of Edward VI, when England is ruled by the teenaged king's uncle, the Lord Protector, whose popularity and mixed messages concerning the Enclosure of common land led many of the poor to believe he would support their protests against 3.5 stars. This is half murder mystery, half historical reenactment of the 1549 Kett Rebellion in Norfolk, England. It's very long and occasionally plodding, but if you liked the previous Shardlake books then you should like this one. It's set during the short reign of Edward VI, when England is ruled by the teenaged king's uncle, the Lord Protector, whose popularity and mixed messages concerning the Enclosure of common land led many of the poor to believe he would support their protests against this and other abuses of the gentry. They were wrong. The book posits that the 15-year-old "Lady Elizabeth" occasionally receives petitions from distressed Boleyn relatives, and here she sends Shardlake to Norfolk to investigate when a distant Boleyn cousin is accused of murdering his wife. The case proves baffling and scandalous, yet it's nearly forgotten when the locals begin to riot, tearing down enclosure fences and looting the houses of the wealthy. As usual with these books, the author is keen to showcase the Tudor justice system. Here he also offers a vivid lesson on the rebellion when Shardlake is captured by the rebels and persuaded to offer legal advice to Robert Kett when he holds trials for captured gentlemen. This is a sympathetic portrayal of Kett, who seems to honestly believe in the legality and justice of his actions and promotes the good and lawful behavior of the rebels. There is much political and philosophical discussion concerning whether all men should be equal or if the rigid social order is ordained by god. The Kett Rebellion was the largest popular uprising in England since the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, when John Ball gave his famous sermon: "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" The historical details in the story are wonderful, and I like the characters. It's unfortunate that the dialog is so stilted - possibly this is a side effect of trying to avoid modern speech patterns without resorting to Ye Olde English. (I think Patricia Finney does a better job with dialog in her Robert Carey mysteries, which are set late in Elizabeth's reign.) I like long books, but this one could have used a little tightening up, especially since there's so much repetition. The author latches on to a few period terms: I got tired of women being described as "buxom", and people being "buffeted about", and people having "antrims" and calling each other "churls". Evidently mooning was a "standard Tudor insult", and there's a lot of it in this book. One such insult dramatized in the story, with tragic consequences, was based on a recorded event, according to the 60-page historical essay at the end.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ColinH1

    Shardlake as always is magnificent but this is not just another Shardlake mystery. It describes the little known events after Henry's death through the eyes of the main protagonists of the time and seamlessly weaves the fictional and factual into a fascinating story of the populist uprisings intermingled with murder and suspense. Superb.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    This is a very long novel, based on primary and secondary sources with notes and a bibliography. ‘Tombland‘ is an area within the city of Norwich and there’s a street plan on the endpapers of my hardback edition, showing the layout of Norwich and the position of Mousehole Heath in 1549. It is a most impressive book full of detail with a large cast of characters, and whatever I write will not do justice to it. It’s 1549, Edward VI is king, a minor and England is ruled by the Duke of Somerset as Lo This is a very long novel, based on primary and secondary sources with notes and a bibliography. ‘Tombland‘ is an area within the city of Norwich and there’s a street plan on the endpapers of my hardback edition, showing the layout of Norwich and the position of Mousehole Heath in 1549. It is a most impressive book full of detail with a large cast of characters, and whatever I write will not do justice to it. It’s 1549, Edward VI is king, a minor and England is ruled by the Duke of Somerset as Lord Protector. Rebellion is spreading in protest against the landowners’ enclosures of the common land. Edward’s sister, the Lady Elizabeth has asked Matthew Shardlake to make discrete investigations into the murder of Edith Boleyn, the wife of John Boleyn – a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn. John Boleyn has been arrested and will be on trial at the Norfolk Assizes. The murder mystery, however, is not the main focus of Tombland. Shardlake and his assistant, Nicholas Overton leave London for Norwich, begin their investigation, but as they leave Norwich they get caught up in a rebellion as thousands of peasants led by Robert Kett march on Norwich and establish a vast camp on Mousehole Heath on the land overlooking the city. Sansom skilfully combines the historical facts and fiction. This is the 7th book in his Shardlake series, but works well as a standalone book as enough information is given to understand the relationships of the characters from the earlier books. With so much detail it has a slower pace than other books I’ve read recently but I loved the attention to detail and the descriptive writing which placed me precisely at the scenes. See my blog for my full review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate Forsyth

    I got all excited when I saw that there was a new C. J. Sansom book out! I love his Matthew Shardlake mysteries. They are set in Tudor times, and never fail to shine a new light on this fascinating period of history. I popped up to the bookshop to buy it straight away. It’s a big thick tome of a book, at 865 pages, but C.J. Sansom has the knack of keeping the story moving along swiftly. This is the 7th book in the series, but – like most murder mysteries – you do not need to read in order (thoug I got all excited when I saw that there was a new C. J. Sansom book out! I love his Matthew Shardlake mysteries. They are set in Tudor times, and never fail to shine a new light on this fascinating period of history. I popped up to the bookshop to buy it straight away. It’s a big thick tome of a book, at 865 pages, but C.J. Sansom has the knack of keeping the story moving along swiftly. This is the 7th book in the series, but – like most murder mysteries – you do not need to read in order (though I always do). The story is set in 1549. Henry VIII has died, and his eleven-year-old son Edward is king. His uncle Edward Seymour – Jane Seymour’s brother – rules as Protector. There is a great deal of unrest, with religious tension between Protestants and Catholics exacerbated by war with Scotland. Matthew Shardlake, who is a lawyer and a hunchback, is asked by the young Lady Elizabeth to investigate a case in which a distant relative of hers has been accused of murder. So he and his assistant set off to Norwich, to interview John Boleyn, accused of murdering his wife Edith. The mystery is a puzzling one, with an element of sexual sadism in it that makes all involved uneasy. Just as Matthew feels he is getting closer to the truth, a few key witnesses die or disappear … and then he and his friends are caught up in an uprising of peasants, seeking to protest the injustice of the feudal system and to bring attention to their own sad plight. Soon the king’s forces are converging on Norwich as they seek to crush the rebellion. Matthew needs all of his wits simply to survive, but in his usual dogged way never forgets the mystery he is there to solve. C. J. Sansom does a brilliant job of bringing history to life, and showing the complexities of the situation. At no time does the pace flag, and I didn’t skip a single passage despite the book’s great length. And the solution to the murder is most satisfyingly – tricky and yet believable. A wonderful historical murder mystery series – I don’t think I will ever tire of them.

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