Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lamentation: CJ Sansom

Though it might not be apparent from the number of blog entries, reading has picked up significantly after my move to Dubai. Apart from a smaller commute and consequent time available, it has something to do with being a part of a good book club and also having a discovered a great library in 'The Old Library' at DUCTAC. Sreekaree is to be thanked for the latter.

Just wrapped up Lamentation by CJ Sansom. Ever since Prasad Menon introduced me to the author, I have been a huge fan of CJ Sansom, specifically the Shardlake series.  Having read all the previous books in the series I was eagerly anticipating this latest release, the book lives up to the expectations.

For the uninitiated, Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer in London during the reign of Henry VIII. This is period of great religious upheaval in England. Henry has broken away from the catholic church and is setting up  the parameters of his new 'Church of England'. He changes his mind with seasons on what is and is not acceptable in his new church, merrily beheading, burning and otherwise prosecuting those not in tune with his mood of the moment. In these turbulent times Shardlake is asked by the greats of the time for help with one investigation or the other, which forms the basis of each of the books starting with Dissolution.

Having previously served Cromwell and Archbishop Cranmer, over the last few books Shardlake has been serving Henry's sixth and last wife Catherine Parr. This book is set in 1546 and Henry, in his dying days, is oscillating between the catholic and reformist factions in his court. Catherine who is a reformer and has narrowly escaped plots against her by the Catholic faction has written an ill advised book which has the potential to enrage the King. The book is stolen and Shardlake is entrusted with finding the same amidst the usual plots and intrigues of the palace.

As I mentioned above I loved this book just as much as the other Shardlake adventures. The reason is not so much to do with the plot of the individual investigation but with the immense reading pleasure that Sansom provides. Not only does he bring to life these historical characters there is something quite enchanting about his description of the daily humdrum of 16th century England. I would strongly recommend this book and the author. Rating 4.5/5

PS: I am not sure if I will be able to overcome my laziness and write about those, but also strongly recommend the two books by CJ Sansom which are not in this series namely Winter in Madrid and Dominion.  

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