Sovereign by C J Sansom
|Sovereign by C J Sansom|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The third book in Sansom's Shardlake series looks at the royal progress to the north of England. Compelling plot, brilliant characters and a story you can't put down. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: March 2007|
In the autumn of 1541 Henry VIII had set out on his spectacular royal progress to the north of England. The culmination of this was a submission by his rebellious subjects in the city of York. Lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak were awaiting the arrival of the progress as Shardlake had legal work arising from petitions to the king and he'd also, rather reluctantly, undertaken a mission for Archbishop Cranmer. He was to accompany an important but dangerous prisoner back to London for interrogation. Shardlake hadn't long been in York when a glazier was murdered and he found himself embroiled in mysteries which could have brought down the Tudor throne.
The Main thing that you need to know about this book is that you shouldn't even pick it up unless you've plenty of free time in which to read it through to the end. Once you start reading it is impossible to put down and even when you reach a point in the story where you think that everything is sorted, there's a major part of the story still to come. The plot is brilliant and compelling – and once you start reading everything else will just fall by the wayside.
I know modern York well and quite a bit about its history, but the story really brings the sixteenth century city to life. I could walk the streets with Shardlake and Barak, I knew where the prisoners were housed and where the Royal Progress was to gather. What I hadn't appreciated was the organisation that went into a progress such as this – how do you feed, water and house thousands of extra people without a modern infrastructure? How do you cope with their toilet requirements? It's all here and not s exposition but as part of the story.
The characters are totally convincing, the plot is exciting and will have you sat on the edge of your seat towards the end and there's a depth and subtlety to the plot which isn't often encountered in historical fiction. Highly recommended.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Sovereign by C J Sansom at Amazon.com.
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