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Sovereign (The Shardlake Series) [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

C. J. Sansom
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Aug 2006 The Shardlake Series

Autumn, 1541. Following the uncovering of a plot against his throne in Yorkshire, King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to overawe his rebellious subjects there. Accompanied by a thousand soldiers, the cream of the nobility, and his fifth wife Catherine Howard, the King is to attend an extravagant submission of the local gentry at York.

Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as assisting with legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission – to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator being returned to London for interrogation.

But the murder of a local glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. As the Great Progress arrives in the city, Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret papers that holds danger for the King's throne, and a chain of events unfolds that will lead Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (18 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405050489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405050487
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


Product Description

Review

'Don’t open this book if you have anything urgent pending...you’ll
have to be almost physically prised away from it.' -- The Sunday Times

'Historical crime fiction at its best.’ -- Sainsbury’s magazine

'I was enthralled by Sovereign' -- PD James, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph

'Sansom is excellent on contemporary horrors...You can lose
yourself in this world.' -- The Independent

'So compulsive that, until you reach its final page, you’ll have
to be almost physically prised away from it.’ -- Sunday Times

'This is a compelling read, vividly capturing the atmosphere of
constant fear' -- Sunday Telegraph

'deeper, stronger and subtler than most novels in this genre..The
series is becoming an annual treat' -- Independent on Sunday

It’s deeper, stronger and subtler than most novels in this genre
(including Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose) . . . ‘ -- Independent on Sunday

This gripping and engaging series seems ominously prescient about
the present, as well as genuinely enlightening about the past’ -- Independent on Sunday

‘This series just gets better and better’ -- Bookseller

Book Description

Autumn, 1541. King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission of his rebellious subjects in York. Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as assisting with legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission – to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator being returned to London for interrogation. But the murder of a local glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret papers which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age . . . 'Sansom is a master storyteller' Guardian 'So compulsive that, until you reach its final page, you’ll have to be almost physically prised away from it' Sunday Times 'Deeper, stronger and subtler than The Name of the Rose' Independent on Sunday --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
180 of 184 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God's nails - a third success! 22 Mar 2007
By I. Curry VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
In what looks like being the final book of a trilogy, C J Sansom brings out long-suffering lawyer Matthew Shardlake for another mystery thriller set against the impeccably researched background of a vivid, tumultuous and colourful Tudor England.

Sansom has set this trio of books in the reign of Henry VIII, and in this book the lawyer gets closer than he would otherwise care to the dangerous monarch. His old promoter and task-master, Cromwell, has already fallen out of the King's favour, being despatched before being lamented. Shardlake is therefore surprised to find him being sought out to perform more missions in the royal service.

In this book he is working for Archbishop Cranmer, the reforming Archbishop of Canterbury and pivotal figure in the religious, social and political history of the turbulent reformation times. His mission is to head to York and meet up with the King's Progress. This mighty procession of monarchical majesty is designed to impress and cow the rebellious northerners, who have only just been settled after the Pilgrimage of Grace uprising.

Shardlake, always seeking an easy life, is assured his job will simply be to help a fellow lawyer with the pleas before the King. Naturally not all goes to plan, and the unwilling lawyer is thrust into a dangerous and gripping thriller which threatens to undermine the very essence of the Tudor dynasty, the very essence of Sovereignty.

I am not usually a big fan of historical fiction. It is often used as a vehicle by poor writers to give their bland prose a splash of factual colour, a "bodice ripping thriller", as Blackadder might say. But C J Sansom is very different.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, very well written 28 May 2007
Format:Paperback
Like most English people I guess, the figure of Henry VIII is one that intrigues me enormously.

A big man - in every respect of the word - he dominates the Middle Ages in terms of our understanding/knowledge of him and I have some sympathy with the historians who complain that the only people British schoolkids know about at the end of their history courses are Hitler and Henry.

For many of us, I guess, we see him as a 'lovable rogue', a man with huge passions and appetites and someone to be (guiltily?) admired. Well, you may admire him less after reading this excellent work.

Henry is not the main character in this book - in fact he utters only a handful of words in this 600 page tome - but (as I indicated above) in this book, like in history, he dominates the plot.

The excellently construted character Matthew Shardlake is sent to York where Henry is heading to act as a lawyer but also to carry out a 'minding' job on an anti-Henry prisoner.

During the course of his stay in York, Shardlake stumbles upon a mystery that could change history ('oh no not another Da Vinci you're thinking!!) which puts his life in danger and means he can trust no-one around him.

This is part historical fiction, part detective story, part thriller and part of a Shardlake trilogy (see what I did there?), the other two parts of which I now intend to read with gusto.

CJ Sansom writes with an elegant touch, never patronises the audience and teaches you things about the period in such a way that you don't realise you are being taught. He also leaves you guessing throughout - this is a genuine whodunnit where you end up suspecting everyone.

A book I would thoroughly recommned and which kept me wholly entertained - and (annoyingly!
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122 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exhilarating Progress Through Tudor Times 27 Mar 2007
By Eugene Onegin TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
If you are already familiar with the Shardlake series you will need no second invitation to acquire this volume, as it is every bit as good as the previous two. However, if you are new to the adventures of Sansom's humane Tudor lawyer then be assured you are in for a treat. Historical whodunits are ten a penny these days, but ones of this quality are much rarer. Sansom's great skill is to evoke the England of Henry VIII so convincingly that you not only see the scenes of that ancient time but also feel them. The smells, spectacles, landscapes, characters and language of the time come truly alive and hence are an integral part of the novel's appeal. Onto this rich canvas, a complex tale of intrigue, betrayal, political rivalry, and murder is expertly woven focussing on real historical events-in this case The Royal Progress of 1541 and attendant conspiracy alongside the troubled reign of Queen Katherine Howard. Every aspect of the plot is related to the issues of the day (the author holds a PhD in History) and the set piece encounters of his fictional characters with the the era's most powerful figures are full of tension and import, consequently one learns much even as the story grips you. Yet this erudition never stifles the plot which is full of incident and moves at a cracking pace: there is none of Umberto Eco's intellectual showboating or Ellis Peters' genteel scene setting here: this is the sixteenth century in all its vibrancy, stink, and duplicity. It is also worth observing that Sansom writes well, his prose is pleasing and flows effortlessly so that a 600 plus page tome seems shorter than many half its length. In short this is a fine piece of writing which just also happens to be a thriller and one that affords the reader that very special pleasure when returning home at the end of a hard day you rub your hands and think `I can continue with Sovereign tonight'. All avid readers will understand what I mean.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Shardlake
I have only recently discovered this series of novels, and I am enjoying them very much. The characters are interesting, the writing is good, and the historical background is... Read more
Published 21 hours ago by Diana M. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Well researched and gripping to the last page. This author is a new discovery, now on to the next one!
Published 8 days ago by B. Donnison
2.0 out of 5 stars don't read
Too preoccupied with torture sand death, left me with night mare that I could not dismiss at all for days
Published 10 days ago by J. D. Thomas.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
Excellent service, I read the first book in the series and will now go onto reading this one, not yet begun.
Published 10 days ago by D. I. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Sovereign - Another brilliant read from the Shardlake series!
So many twists and turns! Loved this third book in the series and I'm looking forward to the next two! :)
Published 12 days ago by Bebe
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, mystery and suspense
A brilliant book. Best described as Inspector Morse on a horse in London a long, long time ago. Wonderful characters and who done it story.
Published 15 days ago by Mrs. L. C. Dowd
5.0 out of 5 stars A sovereign book to read
A very good book to read. Thoroughly enjoyed it. A good feel for the period in history. Looking forward to the next in series
Published 23 days ago by Pamelia
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Faction
If you like a mixture of fact and fiction then Sansom has come up with another beauty set in the reign of King Henry the Eight. Full of twists and turns.
Published 1 month ago by Mathsline
5.0 out of 5 stars Sovereign
The only problem with a kindle is that any maps are almost unreadable. The book was great. Having read the first two in the series in book form I got the next 3 on my kindle. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Deb Mabbutt
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Sansom writes well based on good and logical plotting. He is rare in authors to be able to write using the three essential elements of any story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anthony Waring
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