Sovereign: 3 (The Shardlake Series) Paperback – 16 Mar 2007
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'A parchment turner, and a regal one at that.' -- Sunday Times
'Between them, Sansom and Starkey have the 16th century licked.' -- Independent
The third novel in the compelling Shardlake seriesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Sansom creates a great sense of place and time with attention to detail. This lends the book an authenticity that is is often missing in other historical fiction.
The dialogue and the characterisations are generally believable but I have some misgivings about Shardlake himself. There are times when I feel he is bearing modern day sensibilities (such as his distate of blood sports and the violence of the era) simply to act as a bridge between the modern reader and the plot. For me the dialogue is least effective and anachronistic when Shardlake adopts these 21st century values.
The book is well-paced with a good balance between descriptive prose and dialgoue to move the story forward.
If you fancy a holiday read that is several steps up from a Dan Brown then this could be the book for you.
I have enjoyed all Sansom's Tudor mysteries but he has reached a pinnacle with this one. There are several stories happening at once and many layers of intrigue and deception, all of which keep you guessing. Characterisation is strong and vivid and an old world is brought to life in technicolour. I wished it would go on forever. I can't wait for the next one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent read. Outlining an early period of Shardkakes career. The brutality of this times and the punatibe class system come through clearly.Published 1 day ago by Malcolm Myers
I like these books because Shardlake is such a kind man. there were times in the book when I was very worried about him. I will definitely read the next in sequence.Published 7 days ago by Felix the cat
Originally thought delivery was going to be a couple of weeks, product was delivered before this, product is as described!Published 9 days ago by Sarah K
For me it draws me to think of a world I never knew and reflect on the sad similarities of today. Kept me engaged to the endPublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer