Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)” as Want to Read:
Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Matthew Shardlake #5)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  16,464 ratings  ·  1,107 reviews
Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII's invasion of France has gone badly wrong. Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. He is asked to investigate claims of 'monstrous wrongs' committed against a young ward of the court, which have already involved one mysterious death. ...more
Paperback, 634 pages
Published September 3rd 2010 by Macmillan (first published September 2nd 2010)
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 Heartstone, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Heartstone

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,464 ratings  ·  1,107 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
I want to re-write Dr. Seuss now:

You're a mean one
Sir Richard Rich!
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
C.J. Sansom dazzles with his great set of Tudor era historical mysteries, mixing a few legal conundrums with controversies of the time to keep the reader hooked. England is at war, though its citizenry is less than enamoured with the idea. France remains a thorn in the side of King Henry VIII and he has done all he can to prepare the country for battle, including debasing the already fragile currency. Matthew Shardlake watches and wonders what is to come for his country, when he is not spending ...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
‘That woman saw us riding together through the town. They’ll be asking later who was with you.’
‘You are right. I’m sorry.’
‘It looks like murder again, doesn’t it?’
‘Yes, Jack, it does.’

Yes, indeed, and more than one murder. The book opens: “stormy June of 1545. London” and continues through to the end of a very hot July and the Battle of the Solent between England and France.

Matthew Shardlake is a London lawyer who used to have the protection of the powerful Thomas Cromwell – before C
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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 mysel
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-loved
I'm continuing to love this series. Near the beginning of this one, as the mystery was being set out, I was fairly certain I knew what had happened. While I was venturing in the right direction, I was ultimately miles off! The investigation into Ellen's past was very interesting, especially as I had so wanted to know more about her following on from the previous book, 'Revelation'.

As someone who is not that well versed in British History, these books make particularly fascinating reading, with
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, dark
I sometimes commented on the books of Matthew Shardlake as being a bit slow in story and pace, but this one, I have to say, I really enjoyed from beginning to end, even if it were 730 pages. Great solid story in historic setting on the hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake, in times of Henry VIII.
Neil Mckernan
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
This could've easily become my favorite in the series if it hadn't been so long, and the last part hadn't been so... Formulaic. But because I have read these back-to-back, I found myself being annoyed by the main character. In the beginning, I loved that he was never more than a man of his time, that he was a bit naive and got so caught up in Cromwell's reforms that he was blind to it's effects. But now, after four books, it was annoying me to see that he had learned absolutely nothing: give him ...more
Mark Harrison
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rock solid five stars for this one. Sent to investigate corrupt dealings - by Queen Catherine Parr, ) hunchback lawyer Matthew Sheldrake is faced with murder, high level political deceit, the imminent invasion by the French, old debts that have to be settled and getting to the bottom of why a friend is confined to the Bedlum asylum. Rich in the history of these turbulent times this is a masterful read and one of the best historical crime novels you could read. Top, top class.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Cayley
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of C.J. Sansom's series featuring the lawyer Matthew Shardlake. Set during the reign of Henry VIII, the novels focus on various crimes, which the intrepid Shardlake investigates while dealing with the prevailing situation of London and England under Henry's increasingly erratic reign. Sansom is both a qualified lawyer and a PhD in English History, so he is able to insert credible elements from both aspects of his professional life into the narratives. A key feature of his wri
This book has taken me a while to finish but it was so worth it. This is the best book in the series by far. There were so many strands to this story that it was in danger of falling completely flat but I should have had more faith in C.J who is a master at intertwining everything together.

I found myself doubting Matthew 3/4 of the wait through thinking this time hebhad gone too far and was seeing issues that weren't there, forgive me Matthew I was wrong. The climax was amazing, it lasted for t
Karen Witzler
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A little long; includes a lot on Henry VIII's 1545 War with the French and the wreck of the Mary Rose.

Interesting descriptions of how the countryside fared and prepared, debasement of currency, and armor/weapons of the period.

At least three completely different plotlines bogged it down quite a bit - but still worthwhile.
Joey Woolfardis
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 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.

Pam Baddeley
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
After enjoying book 1 in this series and not having volumes 2 - 4 to hand, I started reading this volume out of order. It is set in 1544 at a time when Henry VIII has involved England in a vainglorious war with France, impoverishing the country and devaluing the currency with increasingly serious effects on ordinary people and especially the poor. Meanwhile, the landowners are looking to enclose village common lands and further worsen rural poverty.

Against this background, Matthew Shardlake, the
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
took me awhile to read the one book I had been missing in the shardlake series as its based mainly in hampshire with the war with France and the Mary Rose and didn't disappoint at all. this book was really 2 subplots linked together. ...more
Susan Johnson
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 04, 2014 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
Feb 07, 2013 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
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow slightly less impressive than the former books in the series, but still very worthwhile. I am impressed by how Mr. Sansom keeps making history come to life, but I think the book could have fewer pages. The part in the middle was a little too long for my taste. Still, a book which I can definitely recommend.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
This was terrific. Not my favourite adventure with Matthew Shardlake and Jack Barak, but still very enjoyable. In this one our main characters again find themselves on what at first seems a simple case. What complicates matters is who has requested they take the case, Queen Catherine Parr. As usual things aren’t what they seem and as events unravel, years worth of lies and deception come to light. We learn some truths about some of Shardlake’s enemies, and friends as well.

I loved the Ellen stor
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
The fifth of the series featuring Matthew Shardlake and set in Tudor England. This one is set in 1545 in turbulent times, for England is at war and the French are expected to arrive at any moment with an army and fleet of ships much larger than the Spanish Armada. And Portsmouth is where they are expected to arrive with Henry VIII preparing to head there. Meanwhile back in London, Shardlake finds himself called on once again by Catherine Parr, who had promised to keep him away from politics. And ...more
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
Nira Ramachandran
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Master Shardlake, now a sarjeant, continues his fight against injustice championing the small farmers being pushed out of their land and livelihoods by landlords in search of higher profits, and the villagers being denied access to the commons. But life is getting monotonous for the lawyer, with no new challenge to face. Shardlake is widely known both for his soft heart, and his terrier like tenacity. Once he gets his teeth into a case, he never lets go till it is solved to his satisfaction. His
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The mystery solved? 9 96 Feb 04, 2014 10:43AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Heresy (Giordano Bruno, #1)
  • Prophecy (Giordano Bruno, #2)
  • Sacrilege (Giordano Bruno, #3)
  • Treachery (Giordano Bruno, #4)
  • Conspiracy (Giordano Bruno, #5)
  • c j sansom revelation
  • A Plague on Both Your Houses (Matthew Bartholomew, #1)
  • Execution (Giordano Bruno, #6)
  • The Angel's Mark (Nicholas Shelby #1)
  • The Ashes of London (Marwood and Lovett, #1)
  • The Last Protector (Marwood and Lovett #4)
  • Martyr (John Shakespeare, #1)
  • The Dead of Winter
  • The Fire Court (Marwood and Lovett, #2)
  • The Serpent's Mark (Nicholas Shelby, #2)
  • Legacy: A Justice Belstrang Mystery
  • The Black Friar (Damian Seeker, #2)
  • Revenger (John Shakespeare, #2)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Matthew Shardlake (7 books)
  • Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)
  • Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2)
  • Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)
  • Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
  • Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)
  • Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)

News & Interviews

When it comes to the romance genre, second books can be a bit like second dates, can't they? You've had that great initial meet-cute with...
32 likes · 0 comments
“be needed.’ I looked at her. I sensed how much she wanted me to deal with this case. And if I could go via Rolfswood . . . ‘I will do it,’ I said. ‘Thank you.’ She smiled gratefully and turned to the ladies. ‘Jane, please fetch Mistress Calfhill.’ ‘Now,’ she said to me quietly, ‘Bess Calfhill, whom you are about to meet, was an old servant of mine when I was Lady Latimer. A housekeeper at one of our properties in the north and later in London. She is a good, true woman, but she has recently suffered a great loss. Deal with her gently. If anyone deserves justice, it is Bess.’ The maid-in-waiting returned, bringing with her the woman I had seen in the presence chamber. She was small, frail looking. She approached with nervous steps, her hands held tightly together. ‘Come, good Bess,’ the Queen said in a welcoming voice. ‘This is Master Shardlake, a serjeant at law. Jane, bring over a chair. One for Serjeant Shardlake too.’ Mistress Calfhill lowered herself onto” 1 likes
More quotes…