I’m a huge fan of C.J. Sansom’s ‘Shardlake’ books, and have read all the previous books in the series. His writing seems to get better with each book, and the Tudor world in which you are immersed gets richer. His characters have deepened and matured too. I’m glad Jack Barak is back, as I love his tough chippiness. It’s such a good foil for Shardlake’s quiet seriousness.
This book is set in 1549 and tells the story of the peasants’ rebellion in Norwich, lead by Robert Kett. My knowledge of history is not great, admittedly, but I had never heard of this rebellion before. The detail was fascinating, and the way that the plot strands of the crime that Shardlake has to solve weaves in with the historical events is superb. As ever, the plots are gripping, even over such a long book. It is also very moving in places, because we get so fond of many of the characters. I had a particular fascination with this book, because part of it is set in Wymondham and Hethersett, where I spent quite a bit of time as a child, visiting friends and relatives.
By the way, don’t skip the Historical Note at the end. It is fascinating to see how much of the action (and some of the characters) was based on historical facts. It is an incredible piece of work.