If last year was one in which I read hardly any fiction, then 2019 is one in which I’ve gone the opposite way, making a point to explore some of the popular Tudor historical fiction byways …
At some stage I might even produce a comparative guide, but for the moment here’s a review of ‘Lamentation‘, sixth instalment of CJ Sansom‘s ‘Shardlake’ series.
I’ve got time for Shardlake: he’s human and fallible – where many other detectives/lawyers seem capable of startling cognitive gymnastics he is more about plodding through the process.
In this case, his fallibility extends to taking on a case against his better judgement owing to his foolish, unrequitable love for his Queen, Catherine Parr. In the meantime, there are domestic issues he needs to try and bottom out, and he’s clearly scarred by the sinking of the Mary Rose a year before the book opens. It’s not helpful, then, that his first act in the novel is acting as a reluctant witness to the public burning of heretics.
As I’ve said, Shardlake is methodical, and this lends a slow pace to the novel. I wonder if it could, maybe should, have been about 75 pages shorter, to add some snap. Otherwise, my only real complaint is that at times Sansom’s exposition feels a little clumsy, and I would end up pausing my reading to think about how I might have rephrased or introduced a nugget of information in a different way.
Otherwise, this was a satisfying read.
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