Dissolution (Shardlake) Book

Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control.Read More

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  • Joanne Leddington23 September 2010

    Dissolution is the first novel in CJ Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series - a collection of historical crime stories set during the reign of Henry VIII.

    Dissolution begins in 1537, arguably the most tumultuous time in English history since 1066. Henry VIII has broken with Rome proclaimed himself to be Supreme Head of the Church. As change sweeps rapidly across the country, the people of England must become accustomed to savage new laws, rigged trials and growing networks of informers for the Crown. Under the direction of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners have been sent out throughout the country to investigate the monasteries and find evidence to support the King's desire for dissolution.

    Tensions are high across the country as the old religious order is toppled, but in the monastery of Scarnsea events have spiralled shockingly out of control. Robin Singleton, one of Cromwell's commissioners, has been decapitated and his murder accompanied by a sinister act of sacrilege - the sacrifice of a black cockerel on the church altar and the theft of a relic. Matthew Shardlake is a long-time supporter of religious reform and, accompanied by his trusted assistant Mark, is dispatched to Scarnsea by Cromwell to discover the truth behind the murder and other dark happenings at the monastery.

    Dissolution is an exceptionally good historical crime novel. CJ Sansom has done a wonderful job of weaving together England's history and religious and domestic political scene with an intriguing mystery. While the crime is the centre of the story, Dissolution is filled with so much rich, historical detail that it also offers a great insight into ordinary life during Tudor times. Matthew Shardlake himself is a great 'hero' to follow - he is an idealistic and intelligent man and even though he has flaws and experiences jealousies, he acknowledges these character defects and tries to rise above them. It is both sad and intriguing to see how the various characters in the story treat Shardlake's disability - he is a hunchback - and the poor treatment that he often received, despite being a kind hearted person himself, makes him an even more sympathetic character. The mystery that Shardlake must unravel here is intricately plotted and involves many thrilling twists and turns - it is quite a complex case so don't expect to solve it straight away!

  • Jo Leddington29 December 2008

    Although its monastic setting and murderously twisting plot have understandably raised comparisons, sometimes unfavourable, with Umberto Eco's classic The Name of the Rose, C.J. Sansom's Dissolution is a masterwork of fiction in its own right, rich in historical detail, full of intense and intriguing characters, and with a deviously mysterious plot that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Dissolution begins in 1537, a time of immense religious and political upheaval in England, with Henry VIII having proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is in turmoil, its people subjected to draconian laws, show trials and the constant fear that they may be being spied on by royal informers. Henry VIII is hungry for money and power and so, under the command of Thomas Cromwell, a network of commissioners have been sent throughout the country to investigate the monasteries and pave the way for dissolution. In general the process has been far from smooth but in the monastery of Scarnsea events have spiralled out of control. Commissioner Robin Singleton has been killed, his death accompanied by shocking acts of sacrilege. A lawyer and long-term supporter of Cromwell, hunchbacked Matthew Shardlake is dispatched to Scarnsea to solve the murder as quickly and quietly as possible. As his investigation progresses, Shardlake's findings shock him to the core and cause him to question all that he had previously believed. Dissolution is a fantastic mystery novel with Samson having expertly brought the sights, sounds and, indeed, smells of Tudor England to life. Matthew Shardlake is a wise, engaging and sympathetic guide to the events at Scarnsea and their wider political implications while the murder that originally brought him to the monastery is a truly intriguing crime.

  • TheBookPeople

    The first book in a fascinating series of historical fiction, Dissolution is C.J Sansoms story of Dr Matthew Shardlake and his investigations into treachery during the time of Henry VIII. Bringing a dark chapter of Englands history in Tudor times to life, this novel sees Shardlake set about doing the bidding of the foul Thomas Cromwell in attempting to force the monastery to surrender their autonomy and land to the crown. Full of intriguing detail, lovers of the genre will be captivated by this well-written mystery.

  • Blackwell

    The tenth anniversary edition Dissolution: the first book in the lauded, bestselling Shardlake series Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest...

  • Waterstones

    In an age of treachery and turmoil, brutal murder brings the ultimate test of faith

  • 0330450794
  • 9780330450799
  • C. J. Sansom
  • 18 May 2007
  • Pan
  • Paperback (Book)
  • 300

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