Emily Parkes asked:
Ok, I REALLY want to start this series, because I picked up Lamentation at Asda and didn't know what it was about and the synopsis sounded badass but then I realised it's part of a series, the author got a phD in history and a BA I think, so i'm pretty intimidated by this series. I'm not fresh on my tudor history so will this series be lost on me or is it all explained?
Pat C. Don't be intimidated. This is an excellent series. I learn most of my history from fiction so I always appreciate it when the author knows what they're talking about ;-). The stories are suspenseful, the murders grisly but not nauseating, the characters are fully fleshed out. My only complaint is that I wish the hero would get a girlfriend..
Jay Astarte It will all be explained sufficiently for you both to form a picture of the immense changes during the dissolution of the monastries, and to really enjoy the book. Any good historical fiction author will add notes at the back, so you could read those first, if you want, but not necessary for understanding and enjoying. Hope you decide to risk it!
Hanne Armstrong Oh, yes, start this series...I stumbled on the first one, and have eagerly read each new one. No worries about historical context: Sansom presents things very well.
Jack Jack. Dissolution is the first book in this series, and on the strength of the sorytelling, characterization, and style, I will be reading the additional books (I think there are five). If you don't have a detailed understanding of the Tudor period, that won't matter because the author does a great job of describing both the historical setting and background. For me, one of the fascinating elements of the story is watching Matthew Shardlake's personal evolution over the course of his investigation.