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Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake #3)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  7,737 ratings  ·  522 reviews

The third installment of C. J. Sansom's acclaimed Matthew Shardlake mystery series

C. J . Sansom has garnered a wider audience and increased critical praise with each new novel published. His first book in the Matthew Shardlake series, Dissolution, was selected by P. D. James in The Wall Street Journal as one of her top-five all-time favorite books. Now in Sovereign, Shard

Perfect Paperback, 661 pages
Published March 9th 2007 by Macmillan (first published 2006)
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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 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
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


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.
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
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
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
Paul Cheney
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
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,
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,
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

Ihan parasta historiaviihdettä tällä hetkellä tämä Matthew Shardlake -sarja. Ihan kuin olis mulle kirjoitettu!
Bryn Hammond
The mystery that mystery-haters like me can go to and enjoy. See others for why.
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
So close to four stars! But there was one thing throughout the book that drove me absolutely bonkers, forcing me to knock half a star off and give this book 3.5 stars. Sansom has so much talent but he really needs to fire his editing team. When it comes to grammatical errors in books, I'm not usually too picky. When the mistakes are slap-you-in-the-face-distract-you-from-reading obvious (Ha! How annoying was that?), I have to point it out. There were random and misplaced quotations marks all ove ...more
Andrea Bowhill
C. J.Sansom third book Sovereign brings us forward to Autumn 1541. Cromwell had met his maker the year before and King Henry VIII now extremely obese and currently on his fifth wife the young, naive Catherine Howard. Henry has set out with wife in tow on a spectacular slow progress to the North, his to attend an extravagant submission by his rebellious still strongly Catholic and Lancastrian in sympathy subjects of York.

Crookback London lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak are
I don't quite know why it is that airplane travel saps the brain in quite the way that it does, but there is no doubt that it's impossible to read anything at all complicated on planes. So this weekend when I had to make a quick trip to not-so-sunny Queensland to teach my elderly mum (a) how to use a laptop for the first time in her life and (b) how to order her groceries online, I was very glad indeed to have an engrossing historical novel to read on the return flight. (Especially since I could ...more
#3 in the Matthew Shardlake series, and perhaps the best one yet.

After his patron Thomas Cromwell's death Shardlake hopes to practice law and remain outside of politics, but he's called upon by Archbishop Cranmer to escort a prisoner from York to London, and becomes embroiled in the shady politics surrounding the aging King Henry, his fifth wife Catherine Howard, and separately the roiling, growing rebellion against Henry's increasingly cruel reformist regime.

As in the other books, Sansom makes
Conspiracy, suspense, and friendship. Recipe for great books. Which is why I love the Shardlake series. Our protagonist is honorable, incredibly intelligent and passionate. His deformity adds to his drive. Though he is incredibly insecure, his deep intelligence continually pulls him away from self loathing as he faces dangerous opposition to bring out the truth with little regard to self-preservation. Yet he isn't annoyingly righteous. C.J. Sansom has crafted a wonderful detective, whom I find m ...more
Sovereign, the third book in the Matthew Shardlake series of novels based in Henry Eighth’s England, is an exciting and absorbing novel.

This time, most of the action takes place in York, the destination of a spectacular Progress undertaken by Henry and his court. It is 1541 and the Progress has been organised in an attempt to finally subdue rebellion in the North of England. Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak have gone to York to conduct legal business connected with the king, altho
This is the third in an addicting series of mysteries featuring the Tudor era lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his sidekick Jack Barak. Previously the two have worked with Thomas Cromwell (Dissolution and Dark Fire) but by now Cromwell has met his fate and Matthew and Barak find themselves in the midst of unraveling a plot to challenge Henry VIII’s legitimacy as King of England. For anyone who is intrigued with 16th century England this book brings much of it to life. Ransom is adept at historical d ...more
Richard Denning
I have loved each of the Shardlake novels.

If you ahe not read any Shardlake starts out as a strong reformist working for Cromwell during the dissolution of the monasteries. In Dissolution he has to investigate a murder in a monastery. in Darkfire it is the pursuit of Greek Fire which once again brings him into the political stage.

This third novel follows on a year after the events of Dark Fire. Shardlake has to catch up with the 1541 King's Progress to the North at York (the aim of which were t
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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...
Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1) Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4) Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2) Winter in Madrid Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)

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