‘Terrific . . . a remarkable, imaginative feat. A first-rate murder mystery and one of the most atmospheric historical novels I’ve read in years’
Mail on Sunday

‘Extraordinarily impressive. The best crime novel I have read this year’
Colin Dexter

‘Remarkable . . . The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page’
P. D. James

‘As good a new thriller as I have come across for years. The London of the 1530s smells real, the politics and the religious machinations are delicious and Sansom’s voice rings true. His troubled hero Shardlake, is a kind of Tudor Morse and a character to treasure’
James Naughtie, Sunday Times

 ‘Matthew Shardlake combines engrossing historical detail with a first-rate murder mystery’
Independent on Sunday

‘As clever and enthralling as The Name of the Rose . . . Matthew Shardlake deserves a place in the pantheon of detective fiction’
The Tablet

Dissolution is not just a fascinating detective story, but a convincing portrait of a turbulent period’
Sunday Telegraph

‘Sansom paints a vivid picture of the corruption that plagued England during the reign of Henry VIII, and the wry, rueful Shardlake is a memorable protagonist . . . cunningly plotted and darkly atmospheric’
Publishers Weekly

‘Terrific. Historical fiction at its finest’
Peter Robinson

Original Cover

Here is the original cover for Dissolution, with a beautiful foil effect.


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It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. . . 

. . . And under the orders of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent throughout the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: dissolution.

But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's Commissioner, Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege.

Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell to uncover the truth behind the dark happenings at Scarnsea. But investigation soon forces Shardlake to question everything that he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . . .