Thursday, July 8, 2010
Historical Fiction at Its Finest
For historical fiction fans, if you haven't yet discovered C. J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries, you are in for a real treat. In the first of the series, Dissolution, Henry VIII and Cromwell are orchestrating the dissolution of the monasteries. Hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake, one of Cromwell's more reluctant minions, is ordered to go to one of the larger monasteries as a commissioner to try and figure out who beheaded the previous commissioner. Although I figured out who the murderer was way before the denoument, I wasn't sure of the motive until it was revealed at the very end. But the mystery was, for me, a small part of the charm of this novel. Rather, the incredible historical details are what fascinated, as did the characters of Shardlake and Cromwell and the entire horror of the dismantling of the monasteries in England.