Reviews

‘I have enjoyed C. J. Sansom’s series of historical novels set in Tudor England progressively more and more.Sovereign, following Dissolution and Dark Fire, is the best so far . . . Sansom has the perfect mixture of novelistic passion and historical detail’
Antonia Fraser, Sunday Telegraph

‘I was enthralled by Sovereign by C. J. Sansom, a novel combining detection with a brilliant description of Henry VIII’s spectacular Progress to the North and its terrifying aftermath’
P. D. James, Sunday Telegraph, ‘Books of the Year’

 ‘Don’t open this book if you have anything urgent pending. Its grip is so compulsive that, until you reach its final page, you’ll have to be almost physically prised away from it. The latest in C. J. Sansom’s increasingly thrilling series of sixteenth-century crime mysteries, it pulls you like its predecessors, into a tortuous world of Tudor . . . Exceptionally gifted at recreating the look, sound and smell of the period, Sansom also excels at capturing its moral and intellectual climate . . . his remarkable talents really blaze out’
Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
 
 
 ‘Deeper, stronger and subtler than most novels in this genre (including Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose). The series is becoming an annual treat. The vigorous, well-drawn characters and their flawed moral intelligence are especially enjoyable, and a reminder of much that is lacking in current literary fiction . . . This gripping and engaging series seems ominously prescient about the present, as well as genuinely enlightening about the past’
Independent on Sunday

‘Sansom is excellent on contemporary horrors. This is a remorseless portrait of a violent, partly lawless country . . . The terrifying business of encountering the King is brilliantly done: the mounting tension, the abasement. Sansom’s incorporation of details of the royal progress is a model of how historical fiction can meld recorded fact with the imagined perspective of the contemporary individual, recreating the moment . . . You can lose yourself in this world’
Jane Jakeman, Independent

‘Historical crime fiction at its best’
Sainsbury’s Magazine

‘This is an atmospheric thriller where velvet and silk hide putrescence, and beyond the grandeur of a Court lies a world where people rot alive or choke in deep mud’
Time Out, ‘Book of the Week’

‘The skill with which C. J. Sansom is able to conjure up the sights, smells and sounds of Tudor England is unrivalled, and if the mystery he wove for his protagonist to solve was any less compelling, his novel would be worth buying purely for the total immersion it offers the reader into an exciting bygone age. Sansom’s background detail is meticulously researched and it shows, but the reward for the reader is that it is meshed into an addictive tale of murder and intrigue which will leave the reader guessing until the end. Sovereign is without doubt the best book I’ve read so far this year. In fact, it’s a real treasure’
Birmingham Post

‘A brilliant evocation of tyranny in Tudor England’
Literary Review
 
‘A fine setting for crime fiction and C. J. Sansom exploits it superbly . . . Never mind the crime: this is a terrific novel’
Times Literary Supplement

‘Third volume of C. J. Sansom’s deservedly popular Tudor detective series . . . Between them, Sansom and Starkey have the sixteenth century licked’
Independent

‘Both marvellously exciting to read and a totally convincing evocation of England in the reign of Henry VIII’
Spectator, ‘Books of the Year’

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Synopsis

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 the welfare of an important but dangerous conspirator who is to be returned to London for interrogation.

But the murder of a York glazier involves Shardlake in deeper mysteries, connected not only to the prisoner in York Castle but to the royal family itself. And when Shardlake and Barak stumble upon a cache of secret documents which could threaten the Tudor throne, a chain of events unfolds that will lead to Shardlake facing the most terrifying fate of the age . . .

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