May 11, 2017

Revelation by C. J. Sansom

Title:  Revelation
Author:  C. J. Sansom
Pages:  550
Genre:  Historical Fiction / Mystery
Series:  Shardlake, Book 4

Synopsis:  In Revelation, Sansom’s newest book in the series, the year is 1543 and King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, a woman sympathetic to reform, whom he wants for his sixth wife— much to the dismay of Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court. Meanwhile, Matthew Shardlake is working to defend a teenage boy, a religious fanatic who is being held in the infamous Bedlam hospital for the insane. When an old friend of Shardlake’s is murdered, he vows to bring the killer to justice. His search leads him back to Bedlam but also to Catherine Parr—and the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation. As Bishop Bonner prepares to purge London of Protestants, Shardlake, with his assistant Jack Barak, uncovers a series of horrific murders that shake them all to the core.

Review:  These are some of the best historical fiction out there.  I believe I like this author as well as I do Sharon Penman and that is saying something.  Plus, his main character, Matthew Shardlake, is wonderful.  A lawyer by trade, Matthew finds himself embroiled in mysteries and politics (usually at the same time).

This story, mainly about the search for a serial killer, is chilling and full of adventure.  The descriptions of life in London in 1543 are realistic (and sometimes disgusting).  At the end, the Historical Note shows just how much research went into making this book as true to the times as possible.

I have one more Shardlake book to read and then there is another one I don't have.  After that, there seem to be no more coming.  I'll miss them.  This author has two other novels, both set in the 1940's, and perhaps I'll give them a try, but I won't love them like I've loved these books set in the early Renaissance in England.

Rating:  10 / 10


  1. So, are these historical crime fiction, then?

    I quite understand how it just isn't the same. I tried reading an Ellis Peters novel set in the twentieth century. After Brother Cadfael and all those straight historical novels written under her own name of Edith Pargeter, it just wasn't the same. My sister did warn me!

    Just Been To See...Carmen

    1. These are a bit of a thriller, a bit of a mystery, and a whole lot of fun!


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