Friday, November 30, 2012

Matthew Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom

I was introduced to the historical fiction writer C. J. Sansom by my book club.  We started off with the first book in the Matthew Shardlake Mystery series, Dissolution.  I have continued on to the second and third books and I am now waiting for the fourth book, Revelation, through the wonderful Inter-library Loan service at my library. I keep reading because I like the main character and narrator, Matthew Shardlake, a sharp thinking hunchback lawyer. He is not a typical hero physically or otherwise.  He has his character flaws - jealousy, a bit of a superiority complex as befits his status in the "classist" society of the time, and he's even cowardly. Yet, he is a man of integrity with a passion for truth and justice also he wants to help poor people who have no voice.  I love the history lessons wrapped up in murder mysteries in these series by Sansom who has a PhD. in history.  He paints a picture of this sixteenth century Tudor period as brutal and elitist without fairness and justice.

I think that Sovereign had a lot more unexpected twists to the story than the first two books.  The pace of the story was a little slow at times. It picked up again (*spoiler alert) when Matthew is detained and taken to the Tower of London to be tortured. My favorite in the series is still the first one, Dissolution.   I am hoping that the characters Barak and Tamasin continue into the fourth book.

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