The second Shardlake novel in C. J. Sansom's remarkable historical crime series.
It is 1540 and the hottest summer of the 16th century. Matthew Shardlake, believing himself out of favour with Thomas Cromwell, is busy trying to maintain his legal practice and keep a low profile. But his involvement with a murder case, defending a girl accused of brutally murdering her young cousin, brings him once again into contact with the king's chief minister - and a new assignment . . .
The secret of Greek Fire, the legendary substance with which the Byzantines destroyed the Arab navies, has been lost for centuries. Now an official of the Court of Augmentations has discovered the formula in the library of a dissolved London monastery. When Shardlake is sent to recover it, he finds the official and his alchemist brother brutally murdered - the formula has disappeared. Now Shardlake must follow the trail of Greek Fire across Tudor London, while trying at the same time to prove his young client's innocence. But very soon he discovers nothing is as it seems . . .
©2004 C. J. Sansom (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
Following on from listening to Dissolution I was keen to listen to book 2.
I enjoyed this more than the first, it was 'darker' in places which added to the suspense..We were introduced to Barack a rather shady character who on the surface is rather unpleasant but his character was revealed during the course of the story.
The storyline is full of plotting, scheming and even Shardlake has his manipulative side which adds authenticity to his character.
The narration was again well done and it is pleasing to have the same voice in a series; you relate better to the characters I always think when there is consistency.
I really enjoyed this audio book. The characters were believable and the story well put together. I learnt some history along the way as well.
Intricate, intriguing, satisfying.
Shardlake seeking out a relationship with Lady Honour was sadly rebuffed. We felt for him as a modern audience. The final confrontation with the blind matriarch was particularly gruesome.
The parallel plots of seeking Greek Fire and seeking evidence of the innocence of Elizabeth were particularly well executed. The introduction of Barak as the companion/foil for Shardlake bodes well for future stories - is it not an indication of the quality of the work that even half way through this I was planning on listening to the next instalment in the series, so good is the plotting and the execution of the story.
I enjoyed getting together with characters who were already old friends and...enemies! I also enjoyed meeting new ones! These books go at exactly the right pace and so feel comfortable, yet certainly not dull!
Matthew Shardlake is definitely my favourite character.
I listened to the first book which was excellent. Try listening to them in order.
I laughed, worried and loved.
I enjoy listening to such well written & well read novels. I wish I had longer in the day when I am listening to one of these.
Another excellent Shardlake outing for C.J. Sansom (and Steven Crossley). Our legal sleuth teams up with Jack Barak to ferret out the secret of Greek Fire for Lord Cromwell amid the heat, stink and violence of 16th century London. A brilliantly plotted novel with treachery, deceit and murder served up as the order of the day. A worthy successor to the brilliant "Dissolution", and a welcome return for Scarnsea's former apothecary, Brother Guy of Malton.
Great story illuminating the intrigues, social upheavals and class interests of the period as the feudal system resisted the inexorable rise of capitalism.
All of this series narrated by Steven Crossley are gripping tales, excellently written and beautifully read. I have never been disappointed with my choices.
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