Sunday, November 8, 2009

Revelation by C J Sansom

Revelation is the fourth in CJ Sansom's Tudor detective series featuring the hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, set at the time when Henry VIII is trying to get Catherine Parr to be his sixth wife.

The year is 1543 and Matthew has sworn not to involve himself in any more affairs of state after his last brush with the dubious factions of King Henry's court in ‘Sovereign’.

However his old friend Roger Elliard, a fellow lawyer, is found with his throat dramatically cut in Lincoln's Inn fountain. When the king's coroner appears to be covering up the murder, Shardlake promises Elliard's widow, the lost love of his youth, that he will find the killer. This is a mission he shares with Archbishop Cranmer, who must keep the investigation a secret from the king. If it fails, they could all lose their heads.

Shardlake and his hot-blooded young assistant Jack Barak uncover multiple murders, and find themselves on the search for a serial killer who is on what he sees as a holy mission using the book of Revelation as his guide.

The character of Matthew Shardlake is solitary, cerebral, occasionally flawed and driven by a belief in justice, but he has a sentimental side as his physical infirmities have deprived him of the love he has always yearned for.

The historical research is rich and colourful, so you walk the Tudor streets and into alleys seeing and smelling all their pageantry as well as the filth. Revelation takes a little time to get its main plot rolling but the finale is not a disappointment.
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