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Dissolution (The Shardlake series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

C. J. Sansom
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (656 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A mix of serious history and its political contect, together with first-rate murder mystery.' -- The Guardian


The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page. With his remarkable debut, C. J. Sansom can lay claim to a place among the most distinguished of modern historical novelists. (P. D. James) Sansom seems to have been born with, or instinctively acquired, that precious balance of creativity and research that lets a mystery set in another time walk a delicate line between history and humanity. ("Chicago Tribune") With this cunningly plotted and darkly atmospheric effort, Sansom proves himself to be a promising newcomer. ("Publishers Weekly") This is a humdinger of a whodunnit. Read it! (Colin Dexter)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 900 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Tenth anniversary ed edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003O86FM2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (656 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #203 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

C. J. Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a PhD in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Sussex.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,906 of 1,915 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rose by another name....and a list 6 Mar. 2010
By Mr
I agree with previous reviewers that when you start out on this novel part of you is thinking "is this just a re-hash of The Name of the Rose" - no it isn't, it has many echoes, or should that be Eco's, of that great novel but is an of itself as absorbing, if not quite as high in writing style or rich in semiology.

As a frequent buyer from Amazon I always find it frustrating that coming to a series of novels it isn't always that clear in which order one should read them, yes you can sometimes tell by publication date - but these can often be just as here for the new C J SANSOM fans is a list in order of their series to 2012, should you wish to rattle off the series before the next publication...

Dissolution (2003), ISBN 1-4050-0542-4
Dark Fire (2004), ISBN 1-4050-0544-0
Sovereign (2006), ISBN 1-4050-5048-9
Revelation (2008) ISBN 1-4050-9272-2
Heartstone (2010) ISBN 0307356183
Lamentation (2014) ISBN-10: 0230744192

Hope that helps some of you...and it maybe something Amazon could consider doing on the author page?
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Structured Plot 12 Feb. 2008
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I enjoyed this story very much. It will certainly please the myriads of historical crime novel readers. Period crime novels are probably at their highest level for many years and this is certainly one of the better ones. Not a classic but certainly a very enjoyable and interesting read.

1537 and the English Reformation is in full swing. Lord Thomas Cromwell Vicar-General of his majesty King Henry VIII is ready and willing to shut down any papist institutions he can find. When one of his commissioners is found beheaded at a remote Benedictine monastery, Cromwell sends another, the lawyer, Matthew Shardlake to investigate the murder . . .

The author gives an excellent portrayal of the corruption that abounded in England during the reign of Henry VIII. His plot is well structured and his characters charismatic and believable.
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130 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, exciting - a great book 5 Oct. 2004
I also bought this book on a whim in an airport - and was delighted to find a new author I hope to read much more of. The book itself is a great murder mystery - plenty of twists, without losing its credibility, and simply a superb story.
On top of this though, it's a great picture of a time of enormous change in England - although I knew the basics of the dissolution of the monasteries, this really brings everything to life, and although there is plenty of detail for those who like their history, it never becomes dry or boring.
Quite simply, this is one of the most gripping and readable books I've picked up for quite a while, and I'll be recommending it far and wide.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding read!!!! 15 Aug. 2007
By Graham
i read this book after having read sovereign but luckly there is no continuing plot!!!! the story itself i found took longer to get into and seemed less epic than sovereign but once the storyline grips you then your in for an amazing treat. Shardlake is a strong believable character and the character relationships and plots and sub-plots blew me away. masterfully told this book has everything a must read well worth the time and money
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253 of 261 people found the following review helpful
To begin with i thought this was just a pastiche of Eco's Name of the Rose: Monastery in winter, dodgy monks, murders and a beautiful young girl with an unusual detective plus honourable apprentice (even Aristotle's lost work On Comedy makes an appearance). But this is set a few centuries later and is firmly rooted in the Tudor terrors at the time of Dissolution of the Monasteries. National politics and the reformation are the sword of Damocles that hang over the monastery throughout. What is so exciting and satisfying is the way (rather like Eco did) that national politics and scandals are interwoven naturally into the goings on in this remote monastery on the South Coast. Henry VIII exists as an invisible presence throughout; the nearest we get to him is his ruthless and foul henchman, Thomas Cromwell. But his lethal authority and whims are stamped on every page.

The hero of the piece is Matthew Shardlake who finds himself having to do Cromwell's bidding. He is a believable character, idealistic but flawed, given to blindspots and jealousies - but he acknowledges all these, especially as he recognises that to have remained neutral could have helped find the culprits sooner and thus prevented more deaths.

This is a great read - and brings a dark chapter of England's history to life. There are no easy answers - and the rights and wrongs of the period are not so categorically stated that the reader is drawn inevitably to either 'papists' or 'reformers'. A tour de force.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another majestic history tale 30 Aug. 2007
This is the third book I have read by CJ Sansom and it is probably the best yet. I started with Sovereign, the third in the (detective) Shardlake series, which impressed me enormously and then enjoyed Madrid, although I felt it didn't quite have the authenticity of the Middle Ages material. So, it was back to Shardlake again for this, his debut tale, and very enjoyable it was too. As with Sovereign I felt I was learning things about the period without ever being lectured to or patronised and I liked the Monty Python and the Holy Grail style 'don't spare their blushes, tell it like it is' approach to the smells and sights of this pretty grotty time (I felt as though I could actually whiff those monks on occasions). So, a good, strong whodunit, a great piece of historical fiction and a great insight into the religion, politics, corruption and general evil at hand during Henry's reign. Best of all though is the character of the main man himself - Shardlake. At times I really didn't like him and I admire the way the author has refused to make this basically decent, but flawed, man someone who is far from being a saint. Good stuff.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm sorry not for me
The story didn't really go anywhere & I wasn't surprised who the killer turned out to be. I never not finish a book once started but I was glad when the end came.
Published 4 hours ago by Denise Pritchard
5.0 out of 5 stars First of excellent series
Excellent series of books. Dissolution the first book in the series. I bought this book to read four years ago. Now bought two more to give as presents to friends.
Published 7 hours ago by teachers pet
5.0 out of 5 stars A great journey into the brutal times of the Tudor period
I love Shardlake he is so clever and diplomatic but not really afraid. He is driven to seek the truth in his investigations but always sees the hardship given to others.
Published 15 hours ago by Marion Lettner
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and very readable
A very readable book. The author draws you in and the plot has many interesting twists and turns to keep you guessing. Read more
Published 18 hours ago by Londonmumof2
5.0 out of 5 stars Dissolution
Shardlake is an unusual hero. I do not feel totally sympathetic towards him as yet. He appears arrogant, pompous and somewhat intolerant in this first story but having read all the... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars highly readable novel
I enjoyed this book which mixes history with mystery and does so in an intelligent and entertaining way. Read more
Published 2 days ago by garrisonhalibut
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great historical thriller. Instructive too.
Published 4 days ago by Kirsty
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 4 days ago by John Haden
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and engaging.
Powerful and engaging. For a brief moment I was actually there! A great achievement.
Published 4 days ago by Brian Tucker
4.0 out of 5 stars but I really enjoyed it. I am considering reading the other books ...
I did not think this was going to be my type of book, but I really enjoyed it. I am considering reading the other books in the series.
Published 5 days ago by Pauline Hoare
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