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Sovereign by C. J. Sansom

Sovereign (original 2006; edition 2007)

by C. J. Sansom

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1,698694,198 (4.1)216
Authors:C. J. Sansom
Info:Pan Books (2007), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 662 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, historical fiction, crime, mystery, york, wgs

Work details

Sovereign by C. J. Sansom (2006)

  1. 30
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (bookfitz)
    bookfitz: A novel from the same time period. The story follows the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII.

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This one felt gossipy...an outpouring of tittle tattle rather than a crime or mystery to be solved. This is presumably what the atmosphere was like when Catherine Howard was accused and executed, it just didn't sit well with me, with all the machinations being done at 3rd or 4th hand. Entertaining and atmospheric, but leaves you feeling slightly dirty. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
The mystery in this Matthew Shardlake episode wasn't as exciting as the others in the series I have read, but it was still pretty good.  What made this such an excellent read was the historical descriptions.  Sansom did an excellent job describing the political turbulations of the time period.  He captured the political intrigue of Tudor England and described the reformation period under King Henry VIII.  This book isn't for the squeamish though, because Sansom also described the torture used in the Tower fairly vividly as well. ( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
This book has become a part of my psyche. Space opera you might say, but it's also true. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Sovereign is the third book in the very compelling series about Matthew Shardlake, a hunchbacked lawyer working in London during the reign of Henry VIII. Formerly working under Cromwell, he now works for Archbishop Cranmer.

It's 1541 and Cranmer has ordered Shardlake, and his assistant Jack Barak, to accompany the King's Great Progress north. The king wishes to bring his discontented northern subjects under control and has assembled his latest wife, Catherine Howard, along with soldiers and other members of nobility to ride north and let the people “see their King”. Shardlake has been tasked by the Archbishop to accompany the King to process petitions as well as a second, secret mission.

While setting up their camp in York a stained glass glazier falls to his death and Matthew soon discovers he's been murdered. Matthew and Barak uncover a locked box containing a genealogical chart and other papers. Before he can review them all, he's attacked by an unknown assailant and the box is stolen. He's attacked again and realizes he must discover who is threateningly not only his life, but who has possession of a secret that can destroy the King. Using his brilliant deductive powers, Matthew continues his investigation even though he's been warned away and soon becomes embroiled in political intrigue.

Tudor England is brought to life here. I love the mix of real historical characters with fictional ones that give this book a real sense of authenticity. If you are a fan of historical fiction or historical mystery you may enjoy this. It can easily be read as a stand-alone novel, especially if you already have a knowledge of Tudor England. I thought it was a great book and look forward to continuing the series. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
This book is the third in the Matthew Shardlake series, a mystery/historical fiction series, with all of the political intrigue of Henry VIII's court.

This story takes place in autumn 1541 at the time of "The Great Progress". Earlier that year a plot against Henry VIII had been foiled, and the "Progress" was undertaken to show Henry's power to the shaky loyalties of the people in the north. Catherine Howard is now queen, and the progress included not only an army of thousands of soldiers, but the queen's household, as well. The story begins with lawyer Shardlake and his assistant, Jack Barak, waiting in York for the Progress to arrive. He has been sent to York by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury to assist with Petitions to the King, and to ensure the safety of a prisoner who will be transported to London for questioning regarding the foiled plot. Of course, it wouldn't be a mystery without a murder, which Shardlake is determined to solve. I enjoy this series because of all of the historical detail that is added to give color to the story. The intrigue surrounding the young Catherine Howard and her dalliances with Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper are cleverly woven in, as well as the story of the conspirators who question Henry's legitimate claim to the throne.

I am giving 4 stars, although I think this book may have suffered from being a little too long. Steven Crossley's excellent narration makes up for that, in my opinion.

Read Sept 2013 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
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Book description
Autumn, 1541. King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission of his rebellious subjects in York.

Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as assisting with legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a special mission – to ensure the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator being returned to London for interrogation.

But the murder of a local glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret papers which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age.
Haiku summary
Matthew Shardlake rides
to York and soon uncovers
a conspiracy.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0330436082, Paperback)

Trade edition paperback, vg++

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:20 -0400)

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Following the uncovering of a plot against his throne in Yorkshire, King Henry VIII has set out on a Progress to the North, to overawe his rebellious subjects there once and for all. This is the latest book from Sansom whose novel 'Dark Fire' won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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