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Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake 5) by C. J.…

Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake 5) (original 2010; edition 2011)

by C. J. Sansom

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8784710,093 (4.16)125
Title:Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake 5)
Authors:C. J. Sansom
Info:Pan (2011), Paperback, 592 pages
Tags:Read 2012, Tooney

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.

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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
I think, although my memory is not that precise, given I have been reading this series over about eight years, that this is the best Shardlake book yet ( I cannot wait to see Branagh as Shardlake). As ever our hero has to be persistent to get at the truth, which emerges gradually, but very logically, from a mountain in of detail about the latter days of Henry VIII, this time during the almost invasion by France. I was at the wonderful Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth last year and Sansom's writing brought that wonderful display to life. I really cannot fault this book, or this series, or this writer (read the wonderful non-series books). ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Went straight from Revelation onto this one and will do the same with Lamentation. Matthew is called by Queen Catherine to work on a case in the Court of Wards which results in him being near Portsmouth and the threat of the French invasion. Side story of a fascinating look at the life of conscripted men ending up on great ships like the Mary Rose. ( )
  aine.fin | Nov 5, 2015 |
Spring, 1543. Henry VIII is looking for a sixth wife and tensions are high as the religious factions brace themselves for another shift in the balance of power at court.

Matthew Shardlake, lawyer hero of Sansom’s four previous historical whodunnits, has more than enough to keep him busy. A young boy locked up in Bedlam is in danger of being burned as a heretic and an old friend has been brutally murdered. Shardlake, with his servant Jack Barak and his physician friend Guy Malton, find themselves on the trail of a uniquely terrifying killer who stages his murders with gruesome ingenuity according to different passages in the Book of Revelation. With the streets of London bristling with a religious madness of their own, Shardlake must hold tight to his own principles and clear-eyed sanity.

Rich in period detail, Sansom’s London comes to life on the page, as do his characters as they desperately hunt a monster instantly recognisable to a twenty-first century audience. From the rooms of King’s Inns to wealthy Thameside mansions to the appalling cells of Bedlam in a search for the roots of madness, Sansom’s narrative never flags.
( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
The fifth book in the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series takes place in the summer of 1545. Matthew has been commissioned by Queen Catherine Parr to assist an old servant in the queen's court. He is asked to investigate the death of her son and her son's allegations of wrongdoing against two children who have become wards of the court. On his own, he also decides to investigate the past of a woman who has been housed in the Bedlam for years despite the fact that she doesn't appear to be insane. His quest to solve the two cases brings him to Portsmouth with his assistant Jack Barak as the English are preparing to fend off a naval attack by the French. There is, of course, murder and mayhem, which Shardlake obstinately vows to investigate and solve.

My favorite part of these books is the rich historical detail. In this book there is a great deal of detail about the English ships amassing in the port, as well as a detailed description of the sinking of the Mary Rose. There are historical figures, as well as fictional characters, with the villainous Sir Richard Rich appearing once again as Shardlake's nemesis. King Henry VIII has embarked on a path against the French which is ruinous to the economy of England and to the lives of its citizens. The downside might be that all of this detail tends to make the book a bit too long. That didn't bother me as much here. It was very good.

I started reading this book thinking it was the last in the series, but I have read that Sansom plans to write more Shardlake novels. In Heartstone, he meets the inquisitive young Elizabeth while meeting with the Queen, opening that path.

Read Jan 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
This is the 5th instalment of the historical mystery series featuring Matthew Shardlake that is set in Tudor times during the reign of Henry VIII. England is once again at war with the French and mobilising for the threat of invasion with Portsmouth the most likely point of attack. That's also the area of the country that Shardlake and his assistant, Jack Barak, find themselves heading to on a case that Queen Catherine Parr has involved them in. The son of one of her old servants lodged an appeal to the Court of Wards to investigate "monstrous wrongs" being committed to Hugh Curteys, the ward of Sir Nicholas Hobbey. The son was then found hanged in an apparent suicide. Due to the Queen's intercession Shardlake, along with Barak and Hobbey's lawyer, Dyrick, and his clerk are tasked with taking depositions of all involved. Meanwhile, Shardlake has also been investigating the past of Ellen Fettiplace, a resident of Bedlam that seems to have taken a shine to him. Maybe he can kill two birds with one stone as the event that caused her malady took place not too far from where he will be staying he will see what he can find out while he's there.

If you've read any of the previous books in this series then you will know what to expect with this one: An accurate portrayal of daily life of the time with real events taken as a backdrop to a clever mystery that unfolds as you turn the pages. Some old familiar faces turn up, some to help and others to hinder while the relationship between Shardlake and Barak continues to develop. Just by reading the book I learnt a lot about the period with the effects of war, not just with the levy of the army and naval forces required to withstand the invasion but the raising of taxes and debasement of the currency that was required to pay for it. Then there is the wholly corrupt issue of the Court of Wards itself. A huge money-making venture for the crown at that time and rife for all sorts of dishonest behaviour. All in all a very good if sometimes meandering entry into the series.
  AHS-Wolfy | Apr 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (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."
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The Churchyard was peaceful in the summer afternoon.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:32 -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)

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