Once again Sansom offers up a read of epic proportions with this nearly 650 page long mystery set in the era of Henry VIII during the last year of his life.
Shardlake will do anything for Queen Catherine Parr, almost to the point of obsession. He endangers his friends and family in the attempt to keep her from harm. Danger to the point of near death.
The author melds the details of the complicated religious setting, which prevailed during this time in history, with the story and the characters. The cry of or the mere murmur of the word heresy is enough to make any person fear for their life. Some people use the label to decry and remove their enemies.Unfortunately Shardlake tends to be target for many, because of his past interactions and current loyalties.
Sansom stays as close to fact as possible to give it an air of authenticity and has added an afterthought or notes to explain where liberties were taken to aid the tale.
I do think the story could have been a little shorter and still have given the reader the same kind of read and content. Then again detailed and drawn out tends to be kind of a trait of this particular author.
Sansom ends the book in a way, which suggests we will be seeing Shardlake again. The next time will probably be in the midst of trouble for his new employer, a person destined to create controversy and be at the centre of many a plot.
It will be interesting to see where Sansom takes Shardlake outside of the realms of Henry the VIII’s tyranny.