The third installment of C J Sansom’s Shardlake murder mystery series lives up to the excellence of its predecessors. Sansom’s writing is engaging and fluid and provides the reader with a real page turner of a novel.
The novel centres on the progress of Henry VIII to York in 1542 when he was married to his fifth wife Catherine Howard in the aftermath of the pilgrimage of Grace. There has always been much conjecture about Catherine Howard’s adultery amongst historians and the role of her lady in waiting Lady Jane Rochford. This version of events although imagined are plausible. The twists and turns in the plot are imaginative and the author seamlessly weaves the various, and seemingly unconnected, threads of the story together in the conclusion. This is something that I have come to expect of these books and I was not disappointed.
The mixture of historical research and fiction is blended well and it is clear that Sansom knows his character and era intimately. The plethora of historical fiction of the Tudor period is enhanced by the existence of this series which provided a fresh insight on an already familiar period.