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Tombland by C.J. Sansom
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it was amazing

I received a copy of Tombland from Pan Macmillan Australia to review.

One of the best historical fiction authors in the world today creates another exception piece of literature with Tombland, the epic historical crime fictional book set during the fictionally unexplored events of Kett’s Rebellion.

It is the summer of 1549, and King Henry VIII has been dead for two years. The young Edward VI is on the throne, while his uncle, Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, rules the country as Lord Protector. However, the country is slowly descending into chaos as a long, unsuccessful war with Scotland, religious conflict, poverty and the corrupt actions of the rich landowners are raising discontent among England’s peasant population.

In the midst of this, Matthew Shardlake is working as a lawyer for the King’s sister, the young Lady Elizabeth. When a distant relative of Lady Elizabeth’s mother, Anne Boleyn, is found murdered near Norwich and her husband, John Boleyn, is accused of the crime, the case could have political implications for Elizabeth. Matthew is sent to organise a legal defence of John and to investigate whether or not he committed the crime. Travelling with his assistant Nicholas, Matthew travels to Norwich and begins to examine the details of the case. Meeting up with their old friend Jack Barak, the three friends are convinced of John’s innocence, but malevolent forces intervene to disrupt their defence. As several deaths occur around Norwich, Matthew’s investigation is disrupted by events outside of his control.

A well-organised peasant rebellion erupts around the city, throwing everything into chaos. Led by the charismatic Robert Kett, the rebels march on Norwich and set up a large camp outside the city, filled with thousands of disenfranchised peasants. Captured by the rebels, Matthew and his companions find themselves in the midst of a dangerous and divisive situation. Nicholas’s established views about the superiority of gentlemen sees him imprisoned, while Barak finds much in common with the peasants and their cause. Matthew is forced to make a decision about where his loyalties lie, as Kett wishes him to assist in organising trials for the landowners they have captured. As the rebellion drags on, Matthew finds evidence about the Boleyn murder case in the camp. Following these leads, Matthew soon uncovers a terrible conspiracy that will not only endanger John Boleyn and his lawyers but could affect the fates of every peasant in Kett’s Rebellion.

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An abridged version of this review ran in the Canberra Weekly on 3 January 2019:

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 3, 2019 – Shelved

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