Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sovereign” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake #3)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  9,516 ratings  ·  623 reviews
From one of P. D. James's favorite mystery authors comes the third Shardlake novel

Autumn 1541. A plot against the throne has been uncovered, and Henry VIII has set off on a spectacular progress from London to York, along with a thousand soldiers, the cream of the nobility, and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, to quell his rebellious northern subjects. Awaiting his arriv

ebook, 672 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Vintage Canada (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sovereign, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sovereign

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Description the First:

Take Sherlock Holmes and...

1. Crook his back "Quasimodo" style (oh how I wanted to say “bend it like Beckham” instead, but I figure it's time we all move on from that one)...and make sure you include a nice hump;
2. Surgically remove 92.7% of the arrogant, ego-maniacal self love;
3. Replace Watson with a street-wise, well connected tough guy while deleting all hints of “bromantic tension” between the two;
4. Change the setting f
This is such a good series! Let me quote the comment from the Sunday Times on the cover of the book - "So compulsive that,until you reach the final page, you'll have to be almost physically prised away from it." I so agree! I just wanted to curl up in a corner somewhere and read until I had finished all 653 pages of it without stopping. Of course life isn't like that and I did have to put it down but I rushed back to it as soon as I could every time. In this episode Thomas Cromwell has gone to h ...more
This is the third Matthew Shardlake novel, following on from Dissolution and Dark Fire. Shardlake is now a much more established character, with Jack Barak as his foil and sidekick, and this is a much more assured novel (which, considering how excellent the first two books are is very impressive). It is 1541 and, after the fall of Cromwell, Shardlake has gone back to his law practice and has taken Barak on to work with him. They are not the only ones to remember Thomas Cromwell though – it is ru ...more
SOVEREIGN (Historical-England-1541) – VG
Sansom, C.J. – 3rd in series
Macmillan, 2006-Hardcover
*** Lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak are sent to York to ensure the welfare of a prisoner being returned to London for interrogation. Matthew is also to assist with processing legal partitions King Henry VIII during the King’s Progress to York. When local glazier is killed, Matthew and Jack uncover a locked box containing several papers, including a genealogical chart. Before Matthew
Sandra Bašić
Treća priča o grbavom odvjetniku iz Londona Matthewu Shardlakeu smještena je u jesen 1541. Henrik VIII sa svojom svitom putuje na sjever Engleske kako bi ispitao mišljenje stanovnika, bivših pobunjenika protiv kraljeve vladavine. Matthew opet dobiva opasan zadatak - sačuvati urotnika na životu, po nalogu nadbiskupa Cranmera. Da je ostalo samo na tomu, bilo bi dosadno pa se Sansom pobrinuo da se prijestolje Tudora itekako počne klimati, zbog davne, dobro čuvane tajne, a Shardlake će opet nekoliko ...more
Boy oh boy, C.J. Sansom has done it again.
This is the third book I have read in this series and for me, it is the best one so far. A rich tapestry of history and character development that is hard to beat.
In this instalment of Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in York awaiting the Royal Progress of Henry VIII. Shardlake is ordered by Archbishop Cranmar to assist a senior York lawyer, Giles Wrenne, in organising and presenting petitions to the King on his arri
Lance Greenfield
Action packed and dramatic

This is the third in the series of Matthew Shardlake adventures and, in my opinion, the best so far. As usual, the lawyer embarks on a dual, dangerous mission, and can trust nobody save, perhaps, his faithful assistant, Barak.

At every turn there is murder, mystery and suspense. Shardlake appears to have many more lives that the nine that are generally accredited to a cat. It is amazing that he survives each day.

Most of this story is set in York, and revolves around the
Jun 03, 2008 Barb rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl
This is the third Matthew Shardlake mystery by C.J. Sansom. I enjoyed it very much. It's nice to come back to a familiar character and catch up on his latest exploits.

This time he and his assistant Jack Barak are sent to York in the north of England where King Henry VIII and his latest wife, Catherine Howard arrive on a spectacular progress.

Matthew has been employed by Archbishop Cranmer to protect a prisoner accused of treason and conspiracy against the king and make sure that he arrives safe
This book is long and proceeds at a slow pace, but I rather enjoyed that. It was like taking a leisurely stroll through Tudor England. It may even have been a deliberate attempt to give the reader a feel for the slower pace of a time when it took days to travel from one town to the next, particularly if you were a member of the king's ponderous 3000-strong Progress.

Sansom's characterizations are still very good and he delivers historical detail effortlessly. His action scenes are clumsy and unre
Bookmarks Magazine

In Dissolution, reformist Matthew Shardlake works with Thomas Cromwell to investigate the death of a royal commissioner; in Dark Fire, he defends a young woman accused of murder. Critics agree that Sovereign is as good as, or even better than, its predecessors. Themes of political ruses, conspiracy, religious fanaticism, and murder, combined with sophisticated plotting, meticulously researched details, and convincing characters (including a cruel, paranoid Henry) recreate the repression, tyranny

Za sve ljubitelje povijesnih krimića velika preporuka ove debeljuce...
Puna zanimljivih podataka iz tog povijesnog doba, odlični opisi okoline, likova, te s velikom dozom nepredvidljivih događaja do samog kraja...
Vjerujte isplati se čitati i teško ju je ispustiti iz ruku, mada nije baš lagana za držanje ;)
Ocjena 5!

If you like historical mysteries...
If you like Royal intrigue...
If you like conspiracies...
If you like books that set the scene...
If you like your fiction with a grain of truth...
If you have a school girl crush on a " crookback" ( ok this is optional) then this is the book for you.

Though this is the third book in C.J. Sansom's masterful Matthew Shardlake series I believe this book could stand alone.
John Wiltshire
I can't say I've ever liked Henry VIII. This novel did nothing to recommend him to me. The whole of the Shardlake series is tainted by the terror of living in Henry's England, but in this one he is a central figure, and his poisonous evil is as monstrous as his girth.

Set during Henry's progress to York to stamp his authority on the north of England after the disastrous uprising against him, Matthew is given a secret commission by Crammer, the man who replaced Cromwell. There is a prisoner being
I need more stars! How did it take me this long to discover CJ Sansom? I'm not sure, but I am grateful for this book showing up in a local used book store and catching my eye. A group read of Dissolution got me started on this series, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Oh, the history! No other writer will immerse you in Tudor England the way CJ Sansom does. The man is a genius, causing the reader to see, smell, and hear the 16th century as effectively as a time machine. The little details th
This is the third Shardlake book, the lawyer with a hunchback who has a knack for solving the most difficult of crimes and puzzles.

Archbishop Cranmer asks Shardlake to be responsible for the welfare of a conspirator called Broderick and to escort him from York to London. also approaching York at the time is Henry VIII on his progress, a tour of the rebellious North to seek new oaths from the people there and to show force to limit any armed uprisings too.

Shortly after he arrives a glazier dies
I have gotten to page 150 and I'm not going to finish this book. I generally do not review books I don't finish, but I got deep enough into this one that I want to explain why I didn't finish it.

I loved the first two books in the series. In this one, Matthew has been dragged into a situation he doesn't want to be in, AGAIN. OK, that is what it is. But he keeps making his situation worse by doing the most stupid, and dangerous, things. He tells the authorities what the dying man said, although he
Sovereign is as good a read as the previous books, entwining its mysteries with the history of the period. Some of it is obviously invented, but still, it invokes the Tudor period and the Reformation pretty strongly and with attention to detail. It's slow to unfold -- and this one definitely suckers you in with a slow build of emotion, i.e. the bond between Shardlake and Wrenne.

You've got your standard collection of corrupt and incompetent officials, with a bit of torture to spice the dish. A ne
Matti Karjalainen
C.J. Sansomin "Itsevaltias" (Otava, 2015) on järjestyksessään kolmas Matthew Shardlakesta kertova historiallinen dekkari, jossa kyttyräselkäinen ja kyyninen asianajajamme joutuu pahemman kerran pulaan matkatessaan kuninkaallisen kiertueen mukana Pohjois-Englantiin. Salaliitot, hovijuonittelut ja toistuvat kuolemantapaukset saattavat Shardlaken ja hänen ystävänsä hengenvaaraan.

Olen pitänyt aiemmistakin Sansomin romaaneista, ja tämä saattoi olla niistä paras, kaikessa lähes seitsemänsadan sivun ko
Jessica Howard
I really liked this book, much to my relief, since I didn't like the second book in the series as well as the first, and was worried that the series was on a downhill slide. This book had superb imagery, historical detail, and an intriguing mystery all rolled into one. All I have to say is that I'm thankful I live in a time where there is indoor plumbing!! And where there's science to prove crimes...instead of than the rather tortuous (ha! it's a pun!) deductions that Master Matthew Shardlake an ...more
I picked this up at a booksale, not realizing it was the third book in a series. I read it anyway, and enjoyed it. The story was about a lawyer (Matthew Shardlake) in the time of Henry VIII (circa Katherine Howard) but was also about Richard III and the legitimacy of Henry through that bloodline. (And that storyline is based on a true story, apparently there is some debate as to whether Elizabeth is the true monarch or not. (Alternative family tree here, for those who like that sort of thing.)
I absolutely devoured this book, as I have done with the previous C J Sansom books involving the great Matthew Shardlake.

I literally read every single word and digested the information before me and, along the way, doing a lot of research into the dreadful King Henry VIII and his family tree.

I love history, especially Kings and Queens, and had never realised what a terrible man Henry actually was. However given the fact that he took great delight in having two of his wives beheaded and gave the
The mystery in this Matthew Shardlake episode wasn't as exciting as the others in the series I have read, but it was still pretty good. What made this such an excellent read was the historical descriptions. Sansom did an excellent job describing the political turbulations of the time period. He captured the political intrigue of Tudor England and described the reformation period under King Henry VIII. This book isn't for the squeamish though, because Sansom also described the torture used in the ...more
This book follows on from 'Dissolution' and the hunchback lawyer, Mathew Shardlake is trying to live down the fact that he was one of Thomas Cromwell's Commissioners now that the greatest stateman in the country has been executed.
King Henry and his Queen of one year, Katherine Howard, are off to the North on a Royal tour, where a dangerous anti-reformist has been captured and imprisoned.
Thomas Cranmer has sympathy for the lawyer and sends him off to York to secure the well-being of the prisoner,
This is the third Matthew Shardlake novel I have read, and I wish I had read them all in sequence, not only that, I got a lot of pleasure in reading the last two books together, one after the other. They do come together like one huge novel, and they are much easier to read once you are familiar with the basic characters. The story lines, and the Tudor history played out in the books is chronological. You can duck and dive, but far better to start with the first book and work your way through th ...more
Chris Hunt
This is the third in the Matthew Shardlake Mysteries by C.J. Sansom. In this one hunchback lawyer, Master Shardlake is sent to York to handle petitions for the King who is will be on a Royal Progress to York. He is also told to take charge of the welfare of a conspirator in the "Pilgrimage of Grace" uprising.
Matthew's job is complicated when a glazier dies and Matthew believes it was not an accident.
The story seemed slow at first. Lots of ruminating about clues and people. Once the King and hi
Beth (moonivy)
Aug 16, 2007 Beth (moonivy) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers.
Read 8/11-8/15/07

Sovereign is the third book in the Matthew Shadlake series. Matthew, a reserved lawyer in Tudor England, and his street-smart assistant Barak are sent to York to accomplish several complicated tasks for Archbishop Crammer. The plot thickens when a glazier is murdered and political conspiracies about, all of which sharp witted and nosy Matthew is compelled to untangle. This book works very well as both a mystery and
as lively historical fiction. I liked both of the earlier books,
Leena Maria
I like the way the times of Henry VIII come alive in this book. And as always - the characters develop into well rounded personalities when the story progresses.
I tried to figure out who it was that tried to kill Master Shardlake, and it was only after the story moved back to London that I began to suspect who it was. Still, I could not be sure. And the reason why took me quite by surprise. Excellent book, well written, a must read for anyone who likes historical mystery stories.

Frank Ryan
This is the third of the Sansom historical thrillers that I have read. All three have been very well written. This series is a very welcome contribution to "entertainment" literature. I can't praise the books enough. I would recommend these to anybody who loves the who-done-it detective mystery or who just loves a rollicking good yarn set in Tudor England and imbued with stupendous historical accuracy.

On to book 4.
Oct 12, 2007 Cathie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone liking historical mysteries
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I especially liked Mr. Sansom's handling on the historical background, in this case Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine Howard. The mystery set in this novel was very good and held my attention. I particularly liked Mr. Sansom's description of Henry VIII, who was quite old and ill at the time he was married to Catherine Howard. He had gained weight over the years, and especially after a fall from his horse when he was with Anne Boelyn. I look forward to Mr. Sansom' ...more

Revisit is via R4 dramatisation: Atmospheric dramatisation of C. J. Sansom's third Tudor crime novel featuring hunchback lawyer detective Matthew Shardlake.

Autumn, 1541. King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Royal Progress to York, aiming to strike fear and awe into his rebellious northern subjects. Shardlake, and his assistant Barak, arrive in the city a day ahead of the 3,000-strong procession. Officially there to prepare petitions for the King, t
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Prophecy (Giordano Bruno, #2)
  • A Deadly Brew (Matthew Bartholomew, #4)
  • Martyr (John Shakespeare, #1)
  • Shadows in Bronze (Marcus Didius Falco, #2)
  • The Unquiet Bones (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #1)
  • Sacred Treason (Clarenceux, #1)
  • Arms of Nemesis (Roma Sub Rosa, #2)
Christopher John "C.J." Sansom is an English writer of crime novels. He was born in 1952 and was educated at the University of Birmingham, where he took a BA and then a PhD in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he decided to retrain as a solicitor. He practised for a while in Sussex as a lawyer for the disadvantaged, before quitting in order to work full-time as a writer.
He came to promi
More about C.J. Sansom...

Other Books in the Series

Matthew Shardlake (6 books)
  • Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)
  • Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2)
  • Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
  • Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
  • Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)
Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1) Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4) Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2) Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5) Winter in Madrid

Share This Book