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Dissolution by C. J. Sansom

Dissolution (2003)

by C. J. Sansom

Other authors: Knut Johansen (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Matthew Shardlake (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,5361692,483 (3.92)532
Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: the monasteries are to be dissolved. But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's Commissioner Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege - a black cockerel sacrificed on the alter, and the disappearance of Scarnsea's Great Relic. Dr Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell into this atmosphere of treachery and death. But Shardlake's investigation soon forces him to question everything he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . . .… (more)
Recently added byrena40, MooBanyTooks, SKNF, private library, Yrrol, Serrana, 4erin, Ygraine
  1. 151
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both feature ghastly murders in a monastery in a time of religious conflict and turmoil. The Name of the Rose (medieval Italy) is more philosophical, while Dissolution (Tudor England) is more of a straight-forward historical mystery. Both offer interesting insights into the political and religious issues of the times.… (more)
  2. 90
    Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these series are excellent mysteries set in well-drawn medieval England.
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    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (Louve_de_mer)
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    L'Eclat de Dieu : Ou Le Roman du Temps by Romain Sardou (Louve_de_mer)

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» See also 532 mentions

English (159)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (168)
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
This was a gift from my brother, and has a setting very unlike the novels I usually read. I enjoyed it, although it was quite brutal in places. Matthew was an excellent character: fair-minded and always conscious of his hunchback, but also irritable and strangely naive at times. The monastery setting was very strong and I learnt a lot about the dissolution of the monasteries.

I am curious about the rest of the series - does Matthew continue to work for Cromwell? ( )
  pgchuis | Apr 30, 2020 |
simplistic view of 16th century england - suspiciously like 19th century england. ( )
  farrhon | Apr 17, 2020 |
This is Tudor whodunit, set in the reign of Henry VIII. Shardlake is a commissionaire for Lord Cromwell and is asked to go to a monastery to investigate the murder of the last commissionaire who was there. He arrives with his assistant and sets about trying to find the murderer. Whilst he is there the body count starts to rise. He is suspicious of the motives behind why the monks are doing certain things, and he starts to get under the skin of the abbot and prior in the hope of flushing out the murderer.

I really enjoyed this, I had been meaning to read it for a while. The main character Shardlake, is a careful man, who has suffered from a disfiguring disability. He is not scared to provoke a reaction from the monks with the aim of getting to the bottom of the murder. Shardlake learns some unpleasant truths about the power play that goes on between monarch and state and the individual players in that game.

There was a good twist at the end, especially as I though I had worked out who I thought the murderer was.

( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
This is the first of a series. Like the Brother Cadfael series, I found the first half of the book boring to slog through...though I suppose I would have found that slogging through "living" in those conditions tough enough, too. In this book, Matthew Shardlake was a commissioner for Cromwell who was investigating a murder at a former Catholic monastery.

Will I read another in this series? Yes, at least 2 more probably. ( )
  kaulsu | Feb 10, 2020 |
I thought the book was well written but a bit slow and plodding for me ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
A well-written historical mystery, unique for both its characters and setting. A definite winner for fans of historical mystery.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sansom, C. J.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johansen, KnutTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balducci, GiuliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesser, AntonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the writers' group:
Jan, Luke, Mary, Mike B, Mike H, Roz, William
and especially Tony, our inspiration. The crucible.

And to Caroline
First words
I was down in Surrey, on business for Lord Cromwell's office, when the summons came.
You untangle a knot with slow teasing, not sharp pulling, and believe me we have here a knot such as I have never seen.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Matthew Shardlake, a
Lawyer, investigates crimes in
Tudor monastery.

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