Spring, 1543. King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, whom he wants for his sixth wife. But this time the object of his affections is resisting. Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court are watching keenly, for Lady Catherine is known to have reformist sympathies.
Matthew Shardlake, meanwhile, is working on the case of a teenage boy, a religious maniac who has been placed by the King's council in the Bedlam hospital for the insane. Should he be released as his parents want, when his terrifying actions could lead to him being burned as a heretic?
When an old friend is horrifically murdered, Shardlake promises his widow, for whom he has long had complicated feelings, to bring the killer to justice. His search leads him to connections not only with the boy in Bedlam but with Cranmer and Catherine Parr - and with the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation.
As London's Bishop Bonner prepares a purge of Protestants, Shardlake, together with his assistant, Jack Barak, and his friend, Guy Malton, follow the trail of a series of horrific murders that shake them to the core, and which are already bringing frenzied talk of witchcraft and a demonic possession. For what else would the Tudor mind make of a serial killer?
©2008 C. J. Sansom; (P)2008 Macmillan Digital Audio
"Gripping, colourful and beautifully brought to life by Anton Lesser." (Daily Express)
"The perfect blend of history and mystery. Sansom¿s novels make for compulsive listening. At over seven hours, this is the ideal companion for a long haul flight."(Independent)
"Anton Lesser gets into the swing of dialogue that mixes detective-fiction idiom and olde English not quite 'Make my day, churl', but close." (The Sunday Times)
"Sansom's deeply resonant novel depicts Tudor London as a benighted city overrun by fundamentalist fanatics, heretic-burners and the madness of crowds, while his narrative's tingling intrigues will have you hooked from first page to last." (The Sunday Times)
I've read, and enjoyed, the earlier books in CJ Samson's series of detective novels featuring the lawyer and ex-monk Shardlake set in the turbulent time of Henry VIII. I'm glad to say that this latest book in the same series works well as an audio book, not least because of the excellent reading by Anton Lessor. It's an intriguing story using the seven prophecies in the book of revelation as a template for a series of extraordinary murders. If you know and like David Hewson's Rome series of modern detective novels you'll likely enjoy Revelation and see the parallels between it and Book One in the Rome series.
If historical mysteries are your thing, I can't recommend this highly enough. The plot twists and turns with great imagination, the scenes are well set and described, and in the hands of Anton Lesser the whole thing comes to life and grips you throughout.
Glued to a story, but could also be knitting , unknitting, cooking, drawing cats or doing Chinese Calligraphy and learning a language or try
The continuing tale of Matthew Shardlake (4th book). The story gives a picture of life in the 16th C at the time of Henry VIII as well as the adventures of Shardlake and his friends. A thrilling story and well told by Anton Lesser, very enjoyable.
Anton Lesser brings the Tudor era to vibrant life - warts and all. The characters are masterfully portrayed with his wonderful intonation and they are a sheer delight to listen to. For those who want an unabridged version, They are available and read by Stephen Crossley but I will delve into those when I finish listening to Anton Lesser - a very hard act to follow. Bravo. Top notch.
I love Anton Lesser's narration. Despite my having read all the books before buying the audio versions, he IS the voice of Matthew Shardlake.
However, by abridging the books, many of the details I liked so much when reading the books are missing.
The story itself has a good plot and as I'm a fan of historical fiction, it's right up my street.
I notice that 'Heartstone' is available in an unabridged version, but on listening to the sample I find that although the narrator is good, he's not the Matthew Shardlake in my head! - This is just my personal preference though, so you'll have to listen to a sample and see what you think!
I would listen to this book again, as Anton Lesser reads like I believe Sharlake to sound, making it feel like he is actually sat with me, recounting the events.
Matthew Shardlake will always be my favourite character, as he is good, but flawed, so your heart sinks when his does, you root for him to be able to find the love he seeks. I also liked Dr Guy, a wise, gentle voice of reason, who can also get very angry when he needs to.
I liked Lesser's narration of the book, his depth of voices was something I appreciated, especially with characters such as Guy and Barack, two different men at different stages in life, and one with an accent.
The recounting of the final climax was something that kept me at the edge of my seat, I couldn't stop listening, even to eat!
For me this is the most enjoyable of the Shardlake series so far (haven't reached Heartsone yet - I am rationing myself in the hope of further sequels before I run out), possibly because the gothic Old Testement element completes the compelling atmosphere.
I don't normally do Abridged but Anton Lesser's superb narration is unsurpassable.
"Atmospheric - draws you into the period"
No, I prefer the book version as I can read faster - just me, I guess
Shardlake, of course!
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