Saturday, 22 January 2011


Heartstone is the fifth of C.J. Sansom's Tudor mysteries featuring the hunchback lawyer Shardlake. In previous books he'd been tasked with dangerous mysteries with political ramifications by two of the most powerful men in Tudor England - the doomed Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer. In this book he primarily sets out to do a favour for the Queen (Catherine Parr) by looking into a legal matter connected to one of the Queen's old servants. Along the way he resolves to look into another mystery involving a character introduced in the last book involving the woman's commitment to an insane asylum (Bedlam). Add to that yet another mystery connected to his new house steward. All three seem to present no danger to himself but Shardlake soon discovers that things aren't what they seem. The book proclaims on the cover 'Shardlake goes to war', the backdrop to the story being the threatened invasion by the French in 1545 after the King's foolish attempts to invade France. I used to have a bit of a thing for the Mary Rose, having been involved with a school project regarding it and watching the raising of the ship on tv in the early 80s. I used to have dreams about being a soldier on that ship when it went down. The scenes aboard the Mary Rose are very striking, haunting and sad. Sansom does a good job of portraying the futility of war without being too preachy or trite. I worried a little early on that the writer seemed to be dwelling on too many characters who had little or no connection to Shardlake's mysteries but his reason for doing so pays off in the end.


  1. Sounds like something I'd enjoy Mick or do you think its not my bag?

  2. I thought of trying you with one.