Matthew Shardlake is sent to unravel the mystery of a murder at a monastery. While there, he uncovers corruption, perversion, greed, and an additional couple of bodies.
Dissolution is clearly researched and gives an interesting glimpse into the conflict between Catholicism and the Church of England. The author has a doctorate in history, and his obsession with Tudor England is clear. If you, like I, do not enjoy reading about things of that time (hunchbacks, smelly monks, floggings, etc.) you will likely not enjoy this book. If hair shirts are your thing you will like it.
katekat - reviewed Dissolution (Shardlake, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
If you're an English history buff, and especially if you love the reign of Henry VIII period, don't miss this wonderful mystery! Set in the time frame just after the execution of Ann Boleyn, the main character, Matthew Shardlake, embarks on a secret mission, ordered by none other than the King's man, Thomas Cromwell. The story is very tightly woven, laced with excellent historical fact and a lot of fun to read. What I liked is that I couldn't see the ending coming halfway through the book! It kept me guessing, all the while enjoying the ambiance of early Renaissance England during the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. Wonderful mixture of mystery and history. Loved it!
The only reason I ever read a mystery novel is because of its setting and characters. That's what I liked about this one, set during the reign of Henry VIII in a monastery near Sussex, England and featuring people and historical facts I'm familiar with from lots of other books I've read. In this case, the suppression of the monasteries by Thomas Cromwell provided the backdrop to the mystery itself. Our sleuthing hero, Matthew Shardlake has been sent by Thomas Cromwell to investigate a foul murder that had taken place in one of the monasteries that's scheduled to be dismantled in order to provide lands and riches to the king's coffers. As usual I wasn't the least bit interested in trying to solve the mystery and so most of the clues went right over my head. What I enjoyed was the flavor of the book - especially the details about the monastery and the monks who lived there, and the conflicts and abuses that were going on during that time. It was light but enjoyable reading and I was happy to discover that C.J.Sanson has written a whole series of mysteries that take place during the same time period. So I'll definitely be back for more.
This is a very well researched historical mystery within the timeframe of the Reformation in England and the rule of King Henry of VIII. The language is "modern" enough that you need not fear getting completely bogged down in "period" English. An eye opener when it comes to the nefarious methods used by the "holy" Reformers!!! I really recommend the book highly to any mystery and/or historical book lovers.