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Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake #5)

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  9,465 Ratings  ·  727 Reviews
The #1 international bestselling author brings us his fifth Shardlake novel.

Summer, 1545. England is at war, and Matthew Shardlake is about to encounter the most politically dangerous case of his career. While a massive French fleet prepares to attack, every able-bodied man is being pressed into military service. Meanwhile, an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr asks Sh
Hardcover, 634 pages
Published January 20th 2011 by Viking (first published September 3rd 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 01, 2015 Phrynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars again for this the fifth book in the Matthew Shardlake series. Each book progresses us a little more through the reign of Henry VIII. By now he is married to Catherine Parr and he is not a well man although he is still pursuing his unfortunate desire to war against the French. There is a great deal of historical fact in this book about the Tudor navy which would normally not interest me but the author handles it deftly and passes the information on in an interesting way. There are two ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
I want to re-write Dr. Seuss now:

You're a mean one
Sir Richard Rich!
Such a great book, brilliant storytelling which takes you back into time as if yer actually there with its detailed historical content. A mystery which evolves, splits into multiples parts, intertwines enroute, unravels & reveals many eye-openers as the layers are peeled away...... some grand reveals too as the story comes to it’s conclusion within a great historical chapter retold with Master Shardlake centre stage.

To say any more would reveal little snippets of clues but as always I find m
Mar 11, 2016 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
Another excellent historical mystery from C.J.Samson featuring hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. Even though the books seem to be get larger as this series grows, I enjoyed every page of this mystery series set in Tudor England. The year is 1545 and Henry VIII is pursuing his war with the French even though it has emptied his coffers and impoverishing his people with ever increasing crippling taxes. He is now conscripting farmers and workers in their thousands and sending them to Portsmouth to ...more
I don't consider myself much of a fangirl. I never joined Team Edward or Team Peeta. Never even swooned at the thought of Mr. Darcy. But you can sign me up for Team Matthew.

In the fifth installment of Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries our unlikely heroes are out to find justice and rescue the downtrodden once again. This time, the backdrop is Portsmouth and surrounding countryside as the French prepare to attack during the summer of 1545. Henry VIII is aging and becoming more irrational regar
Sep 25, 2012 Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
658 pages long but I have read this one in just over a week - it is hard to put down! I thought in March, when I finished Revelation that it should have been called Resolution in that it tied all the loose ends up neatly and took Shardlake from the dissolution of the monasteries and the beginnings of the break from Rome and the establishment of the church of England, through to Catherine Parr becoming Henry's 6th Queen, and Shardlake and Barak settling down and attempting to keep out of politics ...more
Neil Mckernan
With a feeble internal whoop of joy, I finally finished this incredibly over-written novel which at least had the virtue of picking up the pace in the last quarter. But my what a slog to get there. Nearly gave up at the 100 page mark after a laborious opening which threatened little and delivered less. I only kept going after seeing that Goodreaders had granted this book the highest rating of all Shardlake novels. I was just about intrigued enough to discover why. I am still wondering why. Why a ...more
Saoirse Sterling
Wonderful historical mystery from an era that I have read little about. You don't need to have read the previous books of the series to enjoy this, since they are mostly stand-alone, though obviously small spoilers abound as you find in any series. I usually stay away from first-person narrative but this was written in such a way it did not put me off. It was often slow, but very sparingly and was, for the most, very quick-paced , full of intrigue and suspension. The characters were well-rounded ...more
Aug 17, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have escaped once more into the world of Tudor England. Sansom brings to life the atmosphere of these times with wonderful ease. He captures the history and weaves in adventure, great characters and mystery.

Shardlake is a lawyer with a conscience. He is a busy man who tackles cases aided by his engaging and loyal assistant, Barak. He has connections in the royal court which lead to a case with royal personal interest and direct instructions are given to Shardlake to pursue all leads.

Nov 02, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
The year in 1545, and England is poised at the brink of war with France, and a huge French fleet is massing ready to sail across the channel.

Shardlake is summoned to Queen Catherine Parr, where she asks him to take on a case by a servant of hers. It is intriguing, and he readily accepts. It is claimed that 'monstrous wrongs' have been committed against a ward of court, Hugh Curteys, by the up and coming Sir Nicholas Hobbey. Shardlake and Barak travel from London to Hampshire to investigate, but
Jul 23, 2011 Torben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Großartig. Wie es Samson schafft, die Atmosphäre der Zeit Heinrich VIII. mit einem spannenden Kriminalfall und interessanten Charakteren zu verbinden, ist verblüffend. Man wird immer weiter voran getrieben und kann das Buch kaum aus den Händen legen. Auch 700 Seiten sind nicht zuviel für Shardlake, Barak und so manche Intrige vor historisch buntem Hintergrund. Für alle Krimifans, Historienfans und Buchfans ein Highlight. Kann man auch durchweg auch ohne Vorwissen der anderen vier Bücher über den ...more
Oct 22, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fifth Matthew Shardlake novel sees England in turmoil because of the threat of invasion by France. On a personal level Shardlake has lost his beloved housekeeper Joan and a mistrust of foreigners has seen Guy taking refuge in Matthew’s house. Joan has been replaced by a new steward, who Shardlake seems to dislike so much it is not really apparent how he got the job, although they do sympathise with his downtrodden daughter.

While England prepares for invasion, Barak and Tamasin are nervously
Jan 20, 2016 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2016
It's the summer of 1545, and England is at war. An invasion by the French is imminent when Queen Catherine Parr summons Matthew to her, asking him to look into a case for an old servant of hers. Despite the danger, Matthew agrees to travel to Portsmouth, where the French are expected to land any day, to find whether there's any truth to allegations made about some unspecified evil being done to a boy by the family who took him in as a ward years ago. In addition, the journey also affords Matthew ...more
Gregory House
Mar 27, 2012 Gregory House rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor
As a writer it is always difficult and risky giving a review about a novel in your chosen era and genre of writing, for one if it is disparaging it can be seen as either sour grapes at a successful author or an effort to climb up on the success of another by tearing them down. Either interpretation loses you potential readers and can make you look petty. Hopefully this review of CJ Sansom’s Heartstone avoids those treacherous shoals.
Firstly as you are no doubt aware this is the latest instalment
Michael Cayley
I am probably very much in the minority but I found the fifth Shardlake novel heavy-going. This is a long book - I mean long: over 700 pages - and it feels like it. There can be no doubting the research that has gone into it. Historical details are accurate and plentiful - too plentiful in my view. I think that there is far too much background detail not relevant to the story, and that the novel could have been edited down by at least a third. The opening sections are particularly slow-paced. I ...more
Susan Johnson
Jun 23, 2011 Susan Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so irritated by Matthew and his bulldog attitude in helping people who neither asked or wanted his help that I wanted to slap him. That's how invested I am in this series. He was real enough to me that I thought I could have impact on his decisions.
I stumbled onto this series after I heard Craig Ferguson talking about the author and I am so grateful. Each book gets better that the last. I feel like Matthew, Barak and Guy are old friends now and I can't wait to see what they are up to next.
First Sentence: The churchyard was peaceful in the summer afternoon.

Lawyer Matthew Shardlake has been summoned to Queen Catherine Parr, last wife on Henry VIII. A former servant of hers has asked for help investigating claims by her son that his former student, Hugh Curtey, has been mistreated by Hugh’s guardian, Sir Nicholas Hobbey. Traveling to Portsmouth with his assistant, Barak, allows Matthew to also investigate the past of Ellen Fettiplace, a young woman committed to Bedlam, but by whom?


What a shame that the series ended like this. The previous book, Revelation, was the best in the series in my opinion and took the series to a new level and added even more depth to the already complex characters.

This time the story was good but that isn't enough now for this series anymore. The standards set by the previous books mean anything below amazing stands out.

I liked the descriptions of the impending war and the invasion of the French as a constant backdrop but the main plot thre
Sandra Bašić
Jan 18, 2016 Sandra Bašić rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I dalje nema greške sa Sansomom. Odlična priča skromnog ali stručnog poznavatelja povijesti i prava u doba englesko-francuskog rata 1545. godine. Omiljeni grbavac Shardlake s pomoćnikom Barakom riješit će još jedan slučaj, naizgled lako ali s brojnim opasnostima koje će im visjeti nad glavama. Još jednom momu kolegi od prava KAPA DO PODA!
John Wiltshire
Mar 18, 2015 John Wiltshire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, a second reading of this one, as I'm working my way through the entire series once more. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the rest of the series the first time I read it for some reason. It's a very complex plot in some ways which on the surface seems very simple. An old tutor of a boy who has been taken in as a ward of a country landowning gentleman kills himself after claiming that monstrous things have been done to this boy, Hugh. Matthew becomes involved and travels to the country e ...more
Oct 22, 2015 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love Matthew Shardlake and his trusty steward, Jack Barak. I absolutely devour every word and love the exquisite writing. I am transported back in time to the reign of Henry VIII and immerse myself in them.

This one, I'm sad to say, is not my favourite of the series. I felt it was unnecessarily long in parts. For example, the journey down to Portsmouth was very tiresome and I just wanted to get back to the two cases Matthew was undertaking.

I felt the book could have been half as long and
Dec 04, 2014 Gretchen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tudor-fiction
I really struggled with the idea of finishing this book. There's no more Matthew Shardlake until some time in 2015. Ugh. I really didn't want to finish but I had to finish. Worst problem ever.

This was far and above the best Shardlake novel (so far). I can only hope some of the characters introduced in this novel reappear again especially (view spoiler). I really enjoyed the way Sansom took events from early in Henry VIII's reign and related them to current events of H
I've had a long time to think since I finished this novel, and though I loved it and I really enjoy this series as a whole there's one thing I was really unhappy with in this novel.

Prepare for a mini-rant below:

(view spoiler)
Jun 09, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, at last I am able to return to one of my faves, C. J. Sansom. Heartstone has been out for over a year and I have not found time to read it. But my dear friend in the travel industry took me on a two-week cruise with many at-sea days, perfect for reading. I did not take any of my work books. The plot was to read what I wanted to read.

The first choice was Heartstone, which I checked out of my local library. Perfect timing on the book lending. Thankfully, it's Shardlake's longest adventure yet,
Jul 15, 2012 Carl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The latest episode of Matthew Shardlake, hunchback lawyer and righter of wrongs, always mixed up in royal business despite his professed desire not to be. By the end (more like the middle) of this book, he and his escapades had worn thin to me.

Yes, Sansom continues his excellent job of putting the reader into the social milieu of Henry Tudor’s England, both city and countryside. There’s less internal political and religious intrigue here, no plotting between ex and future queens (well, one old b
Jamie Collins
3.5 stars. Another good book in this Tudor mystery series, set during the last years of Henry VIII’s reign. Shardlake is a great protagonist and the setting is nice - it’s far enough removed from court that you don’t feel like this is another rehash of the story of Henry and his Wives, even though we do get a glimpse of the king and a couple of cameos from Catherine Parr.

The novel is long and sedately paced, but it held my attention well. Our hero is concerned with two separate mysteries: resolv
I've always previously loved the Matthew Shardlake series of books, but I found this one a disappointment. There was just so much plot, so much trowelled into the story. It just felt too much. Crisis tumbled in after crisis, plot thickener after plot thickener. Death, murder, the Evil Lawyer, the Evil Landowner, the Evil Servant: they were all there in spades. I enjoyed visiting Tudor London, Tudor Portsmouth. As I used to live in Pompey at the period that the Mary Rose was being raised, it was ...more
Ruth Fabiano
Aug 18, 2011 Ruth Fabiano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good and semi-epic installment of the MS series. Hopefully more to come, but sad as well, and it seems Matthew is going to have more contemplation on his faith and the state of the world.
Asghar Abbas
Dec 25, 2015 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well researched and enjoyable
Josh Meares
Jan 03, 2016 Josh Meares rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good Shardlake mystery. It falls right into the pattern set by the other. Shardlake is growing and changing a bit as a character, although characterization is not Sansom's strong suite. Sanson does a great job describing the era, although many of the historical asides are missing. Though awkward, they provided a lot of nice information. The only thing was that Shardlake made an uncharacteristically silly mistake. But the description of the French war and the handling of suspense was q ...more
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Matthew Shardlake (6 books)
  • Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)
  • Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2)
  • Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)
  • Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
  • Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)

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