Books

Lamentation

By C. J. Sansom.

Near the end of the reign of King Henry VIII, Matthew Shardlake, lawyer at the court of requests, is summoned to a meeting with the Queen, Catherine Parr. She needs his assistance to recover an item that has been stolen from her, but it must be recovered without fuss, or certain people even finding out of its existence.

Matthew, enlists help from a few trusted friends, some of which he can not tell what work he is engaged upon. The times are dangerous and they must not only recover the Queen’s stolen property, but in doing so must navigate powerful, dangerous and politically ambitious men who will stop at nothing to add to their power or protect their positions. Making matters even worse for Matthew and his small band, are the religious troubles of the time, where a charge of heresy could lead to a quick death.

Lamentation is a long story, one of the longest I have read in a single volume. Sansome is not economical in his prose, yet neither does he pad out the story. Such writing as is not directly related to the plot, is descriptive of the time and place in its historical setting, helping to set the scenes which are played out and allowing the reader to sink into the atmosphere, scuffing his feet through the tavern floor sawdust.

Lamentation is first book I have read by C. J. Sansom. It will probably not be the last but if they are all this long, I need something lighter in between times.

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