The trials and tribulations of lawyer Matthew Shardlake continue on a second mission for Lord Thomas Cromwell. This time, he is on the trail of a myst...moreThe trials and tribulations of lawyer Matthew Shardlake continue on a second mission for Lord Thomas Cromwell. This time, he is on the trail of a mysterious substance from the Middle East that could be the greatest weapon England has ever held.
It is no secret that this magical fluid is raw petroleum. What is interesting is to see how that new substance appeared to those living in the Tudor age. Alchemy is the first answer and there it stays. Master Shardlake will need to puzzle out what it is and if the England he lives in is ready for such a weapon of mass destruction.
In view of how precious a substance it becomes to Western invention and industry, we forget how it must have first puzzled humans who encountered it for the first time. Like many new things, it's first and best use appeared as a weapon of war. While the reasons may have changed over the centuries, petroleum is still an incendiary substance in the modern age.(less)
This book was a good introduction to Master Matthew Shardlake and the political strife that marked the Reformation during Tudor times. As Thomas Cromw...moreThis book was a good introduction to Master Matthew Shardlake and the political strife that marked the Reformation during Tudor times. As Thomas Cromwell oversees the destruction of Papist churches and monasteries, there are many who can't cope with the pace or severity of changes sweeping England. The monks will be the most disenfranchised as members of the aristocracy and gentry connive their way to property ownership of former church properties.
Into this the lawyer Shardlake is thrust: to understand the confusion in a specific monastery that holds many secrets and tragedies. Once the mysteries are unraveled, Shardlake is a shattered man, very different from the one who left home on Cromwell's orders.
Fast-moving, engaging story, and interesting times make this an absorbing mystery.(less)
A decent bit of popular reading and topical, modern characters. Silicon Valley, Berkeley, and Cambridge(MA)frame a triangle of family and friends who...moreA decent bit of popular reading and topical, modern characters. Silicon Valley, Berkeley, and Cambridge(MA)frame a triangle of family and friends who are young, ambitious and about-to-be-wealthy.
Essentially the story of two sisters: a cofounder of a hot tech company; and a poverty-stricken grad student studying for a PhD in philosophy at UCLA. Throw in five men: a fiance, cofounder of a different tech start-up; a charismatic tree hugger; an old high school boyfriend; a bookseller retired on Microsoft money; and one eccentric cookbook collector. Then stir.
In many ways, the book is about money and how wealth is created, invested and lost. It also shows an interplay between people who give money away, people who hoard it, and people who are corrupted by it.
While Goodman draws realistic, recognizable characters, the book fails to soar. The plot twists to reward or punish various characters, but the characters themselves revert to "type" and don't surprise. For this reason, I must give it 3 stars.