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Sovereign

(Matthew Shardlake #3)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  17,887 ratings  ·  985 reviews
Autumn, 1541. King Henry VIII has set out on a spectacular Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission by his rebellious subjects in York.

Already in the city are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak. As well as legal work processing petitions to the King, Shardlake has reluctantly undertaken a secret mission for Archbishop Cranmer – to ensure
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Hardcover, 583 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Viking Books (first published August 15th 2006)
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Sara You could try that. But I think you'll be more satisfied if you follow the order. If you know some Tudor history, it could make a difference, but I'm…moreYou could try that. But I think you'll be more satisfied if you follow the order. If you know some Tudor history, it could make a difference, but I'm betting if you try one, you'll want to go back and start at the beginning.(less)
Joost Noordermeer The next one will be Tombstone, due to arrive in October I believer. It will be the seventh book in the Shardlake series :)

Community Reviews

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4.29  · 
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Stephen
TWO DESCRIPTIONS OF THE MATTHEW SHARDLAKE SERIES:

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
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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
We all know what it’s like to anticipate something so much that we are literally shaking with excitement. Shardlake had similar feelings about meeting his king; he couldn’t wait to behold the presence of King Henry VIII. Except when that moment finally comes it almost breaks Shardlake in two.

What does the obese tyrant do to cause such a reaction?

description

Well he publicly humiliates Shardlake by mocking his appearance because clearly the king is the very essence of physical perfection, clearly he is not
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Matt
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
C.J. Sansom continues to develop his great set of historical mysteries, all set during the Tudor era. With Thomas Cromwell executed, Matthew Shardlake is in definite limbo, trying to distance himself from his one-time superior while keeping a legal practice running effectively. The Cromwell void is filled soon thereafter when Archbishop Cranmer turns to Shardlake and asks that he make his way to York, where King Henry VIII will soon travel. Still reeling from the clashes with the Crown, York is ...more
HBalikov
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
“You have rescued him from suspicion, Brother Shardlake.”
“I would not have anyone under false suspicion. Even Radwinter.”
“Maleverer’s smile turned into a cruel smirk. ‘Jesu, sir, you are a righteous prig. I wish I could afford your scruples.’”

For most histories, the Progress to the North of 1541 is given little comment. Yet, this was a critical time for Henry VIII in securing his rule after he had disposed of his “handyman” Thomas Cromwell. C.J. Sansom gives us many of the intimate details of th
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Gary
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The third in the Matthew Shardlake series takes us to York , in the midst of Henry VIII's brutal supression of Northern England known as the Progress.

Matthew Sharlake comes face to face with Henry's reign of terror (and the machinations of his henchman such as the conniving Sir Richard Rich) the book revealing Henry as a cruel tyrant , while discovering embaraasing facts that put his life in danger , and keep us speculating in an excellent cross between historical and detective novel.

The sights
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Bettie☯
Oct 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06bglnf

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
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Susan
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
Phrynne
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
MaryG2E
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 ★ s
This should have been an out-and-out 5 star score from me, but I've deducted a half for the patchy editing. It is a shame that a best-selling writer of the calibre of C.J. Sansom does not get the 5 star treatment from his editorial team.

Having said that, this is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery novel, suitably labyrinthine in its plot, as was so typical of the goings-on in the court of Henry VIII.

One of the reasons I'm such a fan of the Matthew Shardlake series is the thoroughness of the re
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LJ
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
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Piyangie
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the only book I have read in Matthew Shardlake series. The story, set up in the reign of Henry VIII, is pretty dark. There were a lot of history included in the story with the horrible brutalities and the severe torture those who were regarded as King's enemies suffered; and on the other side the treacheries and personal vengeance the powerful Lords carried out in the name of the King unknown to him.

The story was a good historical mystery but the involvement of too much brutality toward
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Stephen
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
enjoyed this next part of the shardlake series based just after the pilgrimage of grace as shardlake finds himself in York on Archbishop Cranmer's orders and enter the viper nest of the royal progress and as the plot goes down many red herrings as his life is in peril but like how the story flows and brings york to life.
Phee
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
4.5 stars

Well this one was an absolute treat!
The story starts about a year or so after the events of Dark Fire. Hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak have been keeping their heads down after the fall of Cromwell. Peace doesn’t last forever though, now they are thrown into a new mission thanks to Archbishop Cranmer. Tasked with the welfare of a prisoner, one who is to be taken from York to the Tower of London for questioning and torture, Matthew and Jack find their way
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Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Book 3 of the Matthew Shardlake series. This one, like book 1, Dissolution, takes place for the most part away from London. The setting is York, where Henry VIII’s progress is set to arrive. Shardlake has been appointed to assist with the petitions that the King will hear while there, something he accepts as he is in need of money. Alongside, Archbishop Cranmer charges him with a second mission, one he is reluctant to accept but has to—to ensure the welfare of a conspirator, Sir Edward Broderick ...more
Terri
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
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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

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Sandra Bašić
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephanie
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'
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Kinga
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fabulous read in the Matthew Shardlake series. It did get a tad too long for me,but the story was an interesting one set during King Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine Howard. I look forward to more of these.
Andrea
Bumped my initial 3 star rating up to 4 after I read the other books in the series. I did like this more than Revelation (2 stars for me) or Dark Fire (I gave this 3 stars, and I did like this book better, so...). It was great to finally see Henry VIII through Matthew's eyes, and the subplot with the prophecy was very interesting. But, again, the mystery fell short for me. Having read the other books back to back and knowing how naive and impressionable Shardlake is, it was fairly easy for me to ...more
Samantha
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
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Barb
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Liz
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
'Sovereign' is the third instalment of Sansom's Shardlake series - historical fiction set during the reign of Henry VIII which tells the story of the lawyer Matthew Shardlake, and the various shenanigans that he encounters.

I have to say, I'm really not that enamoured with this series. They're clearly well researched, and Sansom writes competently enough, but I just don't find them that engaging. Historical fiction isn't a genre that I've ever really been that interested in, and I only started t
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John Wiltshire
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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David Stringer
Having finished and thoroughly enjoying the first of this series I went to my 'to-read-shelf' and picked this up, thought let's stick with Shardlake and see what he get's up to next. Think I have four books in the series on my shelf that I'm now looking forward to reading. But without realising, I hadn't got the 2nd in the series, so have ended up skipping that, to this one...the third instalment. Hope that doesn't take anything away from the story etc.

And once again the author has done a fantas
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Jamie Collins
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
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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
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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
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Roz
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, historical
I was definitely in the mood for this one.

Once again, Sansom recreates the time period of Henry VIII vividly. The smell, the cruelty, the fear... everything is there. On top of it, he has created some fabulous characters, Shardlake and Barak, who get tangled into a big conspiracy which involves murder, attempted murder and treason.
Nira Ramachandran
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Master Shardlake is once again on a double assignment for Archbishop Cranmer – as a lawyer to process local petitions to the King, when the Royal Progress reaches York, and as a representative of the Archbishop to ensure the safety and wellbeing of a political prisoner awaiting removal to the Tower for questioning. The story unfolds in the backdrop of the extravagant Royal Progress from London to Hull, wherein 3000 people in a procession over a mile long would be going north in an attempt to ove ...more
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Tudor History Lovers: April 2019 - Sovereign, by C.J. Sansom 8 51 Apr 02, 2019 05:13PM  
Tudor-era historical novels written by men? 1 13 Oct 27, 2016 02:31AM  

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2,510 followers
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
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Other books in the series

Matthew Shardlake (7 books)
  • Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)
  • Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2)
  • Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
  • Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
  • Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)
  • Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)