Where's this book been?
by C. J. Sansom | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 9780330450799 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 6/2/2021
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, June 2, 2021
I ordered this UK-edition softcover as its description said it was among the World Book Night 2011 releases - which meant it might have a prenumbered BCID, as WBN partnered with BookCrossing that year. (Many of the BCIDs allocated for the books never got written into them, and so will go unjournaled; I'd hoped to "rescue" one!) Turns out this edition isn't the WBN edition at all, but as I enjoyed the book I was glad of another release copy.

It's the first in a series about Tudor-era lawyer Matthew Shardlake, whose hunched back causes him physical pain in addition to some amount of taunting from those who don't fear his influence. As this book opens, he's working for Thomas Cromwell, who has risen to power in the service of the King Henry VIII and has even survived the execution of Anne Boleyn, whose marriage to the king he'd helped promote. Now he's working to dissolve the monasteries, which is causing much turmoil within the wealthier surviving houses. When one of Cromwell's agents is found decapitated in the chapel of one such monastery, Shardlake is dispatched to solve the crime. With his aide, young Mark Poer, he sets out through wintry weather to the site, and finds a hotbed of abuses - in the town as well as in the monastery - and hard feelings on all sides.

I appreciated the detailed scene-setting and period accuracy, plus the distinct and varied characterizations. Matthew himself means well but is somewhat naive regarding Cromwell's activities (though other works, such as Wolf Hall, propose alternate interpretations of Cromwell's character and deeds; in this book Cromwell definitely does rely on torture of innocents to promote his ends).

During the investigation, he finds evidence of other crimes, tries to protect his aide from an entanglement with a woman of low birth - about whom he has feelings of his own, though he tries to suppress them - and sometimes indulges in philosophical and religious debates with Mark and with the monks. I liked the way the characters are multi-dimensional, even Shardlake himself, who struggles with his own biases and fears throughout.

Since I first read this book I've read the rest of the series, and enjoyed it very much. There are some good audio versions as well. Recommended!

Released 1 mo ago (6/19/2021 UTC) at Little Free Library, Village Woods Rd in Haverhill, Massachusetts USA


Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

*** Released for the 2021 Allergic to A challenge. ***

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