Friday, February 18, 2011

Series Rec: C. J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake Mysteries

I'm partway through C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake Mysteries. They're set in England during Henry VIII's reign, and feature historical characters like Thomas Cromwell.

I'm loving these so far. Matthew Shardlake is a London lawyer who begins as an ardent Reformer but starts going through a crisis of faith as he sees that Cromwell is just as corrupt (and spilling just as much blood) as the Catholics in power before him.

Matthew solves murders with a loyal but uncouth rogue named Jack Barak, a patralineal descendant of converso Jews. Jack isn't much religious, but he has a sentimental (and potentially dangerous) attachment to his Jewish heritage.

I adore Jack and his relationship with Matthew. (Is it a bromantic friendship? More father-son? Maybe it's a bit of both.) Sadly, Jack doesn't come in till the second book, but the first one is worth reading anyway.

I love mysteries, history and religious issues, so these books are perfect for me. Overall, I think Sansom does a brilliant job of bringing the Tudor period to life. The mysteries themselves are so-so, but since I love the characters and setting, I'm ok with that.

My Goodreads Review of Dissolution: short and to the point!

My Goodreads Review of Dark Fire: more in depth!

My Goodreads Review of Sovereign: also in depth!

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