Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Heartstone by C. J. Sansom

Heartstone (original 2010; edition 2011)

by C. J. Sansom

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8184111,119 (4.17)119
Authors:C. J. Sansom
Info:Pan (2011), Paperback, 592 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Historical Fiction, Mystery, Shardlake, TBR

Work details

Heartstone by C. J. Sansom (2010)

  1. 50
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (bookfitz)
    bookfitz: While not a mystery, "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel is another great novel set in Tudor England.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 119 mentions

English (40)  French (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
A well descriptive book on the era of King Henry V111 in 1545. Not what I would call a pacey book, but the times of the 16th century explained in detail during the solving of several mysteries is enough to keep one interested. The hunchback Shardlake the lawyer certainly adds to the books strength. Fact mixed with fiction is always an amazing combination. Well written Mr Sansom ( )
  nilbett | May 1, 2014 |
This is the 5th book in the mystery series, featuring Matthew Shardlake, a Lincoln's Inn lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII. The more I read these books, the more I enjoy them. In this story, Matthew is helping one of Queen Catherine's women by investigating the death of her son, who was trying to keep an orphaned boy from losing his land. Investigating the mystery sends Matthew and his assistant Jack to Portsmouth where King Henry is gathering troops to fight the French. Although the mystery behind these books is always interesting, what I really enjoy about all of these books in the historical detail in the setting. England is in turmoil with an imminent invasion by the French. Young men are forced to serve in the army and the King has thrown a panic in the economy by producing a diluted currency to help pay for the war. The descriptions of the living conditions and specific events - especially the final battle on the Mary Rose - are vivid and always send me off to various history sources trying to get more background on what happened. Hope this series goes on, although in this book, Henry is on his last wife, so not sure how long it can last... ( )
  jmoncton | Mar 19, 2014 |
C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series follows a common formula: a dead body, followed by more dead bodies, and a persistent investigator who gets himself into a pickle before solving the crime. Sansom's novels, set in Tudor England, include a large dose of history that usually masks the formula. Heartstone is set in 1545, when the French are threatening invasion, and troops are amassing at Portsmouth to fight them off. Shardlake is asked by the Queen (Henry VIII's last wife, Catherine Parr) to investigate events leading up to a young man's suicide. Shardlake decides he will also investigate another matter of personal interest, that occurred 19 years earlier.

So: we have one dead body (the young man), and a bit of intrigue concerning the older case. And then we get lots and lots of period detail. Now, I'm not a bloodthirsty soul but the second dead body didn't show up until page 360, about the time I wondered where all this was going. And while the story picked up its pace at that point, there was too much that felt contrived. Shardlake's personal investigation was based on supposition more than evidence, and he just happened to be correct. He did, indeed, get himself into a pickle but his rescue and escape were a little too convenient. And the mystery behind the suicide turned out to be an oft-used and not very believable plot device.

I've developed quite a fondness for Shardlake and his assistant, Jack Barak. I've heard Sansom is planning more books in this series, and I would definitely read them. I just hope for a tighter, more exciting story the next time. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jan 29, 2014 |
I started this during the Christmas holidays and it was a good summer read. It probably could have been 3/4 of the length, some of the story dragged on somewhat. Nevertheless I found it enjoyable throughout. The actual mystery was good but some of the detail was lost on me (length descriptions of ships and soldiers). Unfortunately I am simply not interested in those details. I bought this for $5 at a book sale so I can't really complain. ( )
  pixelette | Sep 21, 2013 |
Another excellent adventure for Matthew Shardlake, weaving in the attempted invasion of the French at Portsmouth in 1545 and the sinking of the Mary Rose. I heard Deborah Moggach on Radio 4's Book Club on Sunday bravely saying that when she had written Tulip Fever she was asked to write a short story in the same period, but everything she knew about the place and time was in Tulip Fever and she had nothing more to write. That can't be the same with C.J. Sansom - he seems to be totally immersed in the period, writing, as it were, like a native. ( )
  lexieconyngham | Aug 19, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
"Sansom brilliantly exploits the hindsight that we bring to the historical novel, for we turn the pages with bated breath, waiting for the inevitable, wondering who will survive."
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
The Churchyard was peaceful in the summer afternoon.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
Catherine Parr requests
That Shardlake investigates
Case in Hampshire.
Another war with
France? Flagship Mary Rose sinks
With all hands in port.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067002239X, Hardcover)

The #1 international bestselling author brings us his fifth Shardlake novel.

Summer, 1545. England is at war, and Matthew Shardlake is about to encounter the most politically dangerous case of his career. While a massive French fleet prepares to attack, every able-bodied man is being pressed into military service. Meanwhile, an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr asks Shardlake to investigate claims of "monstrous wrongs" committed against a young ward of the court. Shardlake's inquiries take him and his loyal assistant, Jack Barak, to Hoyland Priory and Portsmouth, where the English fleet is gathering. There they uncover a startling link between the ward and a woman incarcerated in Bedlam. With a fantastic backdrop of wartime intrigue and a dramatic finale onboard one of Henry VIII's great warships, Heartstone is certain to catapult this internationally bestselling series to greater prominence.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:30 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII's invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel. As the English fleet gathers at Portsmouth, the country raises the largest militia army it has ever seen. The King has debased the currency to pay for the war, and England is in the grip of soaring inflation and economic crisis. Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Asked to investigate claims of 'monstrous wrongs' committed against a young ward of the court, which have already involved one mysterious death, Shardlake and his assistant Barak journey to Portsmouth. Once arrived, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing to become a war zone; and Shardlake takes the opportunity to also investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettipace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam. The emerging mysteries around the young ward, and the events that destroyed Ellen's family nineteen years before, involve Shardlake in reunions both with an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
7 avail.
232 wanted
6 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.17)
2 1
3 32
3.5 20
4 108
4.5 32
5 72


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,159,669 books! | Top bar: Always visible