Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.



by C. J. Sansom

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Matthew Shardlake (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6452834,768 (4.2)77
When a distant relative of Princess Elizabeth is found dead, Matthew Shardlake is sent to investigate the murder, which may have connections reaching to a peasant rebellion sweeping the country.

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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 77 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Seventh in the historical mystery series featuring the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. After the death of Henry VIII he’s now working for Lady Elizabeth in a mainly conveyancing role but she has a different job in mind for him when Shardlake is sent to Norwich to investigate the accusation of murder by a distant relative in the Boleyn line. But the investigation is forced to take a back seat when Matthew & his assistant Nicholas (along with Jack Barak who is there for the assizes) are swept up in Kett’s rebellion.

A little overlong but otherwise another fine instalment in the series. Perhaps not hitting the heights of some of the others but offers up an insight into an often overlooked part of English history ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Jul 3, 2023 |
Ah, Matthew. Not my Matthew, but Matthew Shardlake, the hunchback lawyer during the Tudor period in England. This is C.J. Sansom's last Shardlake novel, so I read it with a heavy heart to begin with. Turn out I needed a heavy heart throughout the entire 900 page novel. As always there is a mystery involving a distant relative of Anne "Beheaded" Boleyn, but 80% of the novel (the whole middle part) deals with Kett's Rebellion, a farmers' rebellion in Norfolk (Tombland to be exact) against the upper classes. I was fascinated by the history, but after weeks of living in the camp at Mousehold Keep, I was tired. Maybe that's what Sansom wanted--for me to be as exhausted as the farmers. Of all of his Shardlake novels, this was my least favorite (sorry, C.J.). I think he was trying to write a magnum opus as his last work, but he went overboard. The mystery sandwiched the pages and seemed quite rushed at the end. ( )
  crabbyabbe | Nov 6, 2022 |
Although I devoured all the previous books in this series, the length of this one made me postpone reading it for a couple of years. So often of late it seems that successful authors become self-indulgent, extending and expanding their stories in ways that really don't make them any better, just longer. Perhaps their editors are cowed by the authors' previous successes and disinclined to suggest that shorter can be better?

Would that be the case with Tombland? Any series reader should go into this volume with a baseline anticipation of the rich details of religion, life and politics in the 16th century that underlie all the Shardlake books. But although each previous book was longer than the one before, none came close to 880 pages!

As it happens, in this book Sansom's goal is not only to write an intriguing mystery in a distinctive setting, but to share with readers his interpretation of the Robert Kett Rebellion of 1549. Not as well known as Wat Tyler's rebellion of 1381, in recent decades the events and causes of this uprising have been explored in new detail, much of which Sansom works into his story. In his typical fashion (fans of the series might be put in mind of the royal progress to York in [b:Sovereign|138684|Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)|C.J. Sansom|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1440215651l/138684._SY75_.jpg|1698960]) he imagines what daily life in the camp of thousands of impoverished and indignant rebels outside of Norwich might have been like. All this is rooted in meticulous research, which he recounts for us in an extended essay that follows the end of the book.

I'm happy to report that although I continuously assessed, as I read, whether the book could have been as good had this-or-that section been deleted, the answer was always "no". The interplay of characters and events was so complete that eliminating any would have diminished the texture or the plot - or both. Sansom also does a masterful job of integrating characters who remained in London with the events in Norwich; little detail, but occasional communications that, whether or not they were successful, kept the connections intact. Most importantly, the story continually moved forward, paralleling the real life events of that summer.

The story also resonated with me as a comparison with the contemporary American culture and economy. There are still so many reasons for those at the bottom of the ladder to cry foul. True, the parallels aren't exact. The yeoman class, situated between the landless laborers and the gentry, was actually growing during Tudor times, where our middle class is now stagnant. But the most affluent among us increase in wealth, often with the government's assistance, and the numbers of the poor have become even greater during the pandemic.

Oh, by the way, despite the fact that the murder mystery takes a back seat to the rebellion in [b:Tombland|40095725|Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)|C.J. Sansom|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1526558444l/40095725._SY75_.jpg|62146274], it's still a worthy tale, replete with suspects and motivations. As always, Steven Crossley provides excellent narration. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
I enjoyed this but it is a bit too long. A piece of history I did not know about. The mystery does get a bit buried by the history. I got a bit fed up towards the end especially as I knew it was all going to end badly. But Shardlake is always interesting to spend time with. ( )
  infjsarah | Mar 13, 2022 |
A huge book in every respect, with over 800 pages of detailed descriptions of the turbulent times in the summer of 1549. Shardlake is asked by Lady Elizabeth (later Elizabeth I) to investigate a murder charge against a Boleyn relative in Norwich. This causes Shardlake to be in Norwich when Kett's rebellion occurs, against the gentry's enclosure of common land. As a result, Shardlake is forced to join the rebels and act as Kett's legal advisor. The battles between the rebels and the Protector's forces are described in graphic detail as is the terrible retribution exacted on the defeated rebels after the battle. ( )
  edwardsgt | Jul 30, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Shardlake is a superb creation, who gains more substance with each new book; he questions and challenges the political shifts of his age while remaining entirely plausibly shaped by them. . . . Sansom’s real interest here is the peasant rebellions of 1549, the largest popular uprising between the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 and the civil war, of which Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk was the most successful.
Shardlake’s [murder] investigation is the central thread of the novel, but its main purpose, in terms of the plot, is to give him a reason to be in Norwich in 1549. The city was the focus of Kett’s rebellion, a large, well-organised insurrection that defeated a royal army and, for a few short weeks, controlled a large slice of Norfolk.

This is Sansom’s real subject.
added by davidcla | editThe Spectator, Andrew Taylor (Oct 20, 2018)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sansom, C. J.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
I did well in keeping in Kett's camp and thought nothing but
well of Kett. He trusted to see a new day for such men as I was.

Ralph Claxton, Norfolk parish clerk,
prosecuted for speaking these words, 1550
First words
I had been in my chambers at Lincoln's Inn when the messenger
came from Master Parry, asking me to attend him urgently.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


When a distant relative of Princess Elizabeth is found dead, Matthew Shardlake is sent to investigate the murder, which may have connections reaching to a peasant rebellion sweeping the country.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Tombland is the seventh novel in C. J. Sansom’s number one bestselling Shardlake series.

Summer, 1549.

Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .

The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.

Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of Edith Boleyn, the wife of John Boleyn – a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother – which could have political implications for Elizabeth, brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding Edith’s death, as a second murder is committed.

And then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, England’s second largest.

Barak throws in his lot with the rebels; Nicholas, opposed to them, becomes a prisoner in Norwich Castle; while Shardlake has to decide where his ultimate loyalties lie, as government forces in London prepare to march north and destroy the rebels. Meanwhile he discovers that the murder of Edith Boleyn may have connections reaching into both the heart of the rebel camp and of the Norfolk gentry . . .
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (4.2)
2 4
2.5 2
3 6
3.5 17
4 49
4.5 15
5 45

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,775,347 books! | Top bar: Always visible