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Summary

Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII’s invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel. As the English fleet gathers at Portsmouth, the country raises the largest militia army it has ever seen. The King has debased the currency to pay for the war, and England is in the grip of soaring inflation and economic crisis.

Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Asked to investigate claims of “monstrous wrongs” committed against a young ward of the court, which have already involved one mysterious death, Shardlake and his assistant Barak journey to Portsmouth.

Once arrived, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing to become a war zone; and Shardlake takes the opportunity to also investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettipace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam. The emerging mysteries around the young ward, and the events that destroyed Ellen’s family 19 years before, involve Shardlake in reunions both with an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne. Events will converge on board one of the King’s great warships, primed for battle in Portsmouth harbour....

©2010 C. J. Sansom (P)2010 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic reviews

"Murder, mystery and turbulent history are expertly twisted together in Sansom’s fifth Tudor crime novel." ( Sunday Times Culture)
"CJ Sansom writes with verve and conviction, drawing the reader into the heat and terror of the summer of 1545." ( The Daily Express)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Abridged ?

Sansom and Lesser great as always but why was it necessary to abridge the book ?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book, well read

CJ Sansom's lawyer/detective is once again on a royal job that he doesn't particularly want. The writing is inspired and together with the actual historical events that are entwined in the story line, the Matthew Shardlake series of books are a pleasure to read... you can almost "smell" the 16th Century from the description. And, Anton Lesser's narration is once again excellent... just enough accent and voice change between characters to recognise each one, without getting into the world of silly voices!
If you haven't read one of these yet, I really recommend starting with "Dissolution" and going through in order, but if you start here you'll still enjoy the ride!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing, historically accurate story.

Would you consider the audio edition of Heartstone to be better than the print version?

First CJ Hanson novel so can't compare

What other book might you compare Heartstone to, and why?

Phillipa Gregory for the interweaving of history and fiction

What does Anton Lesser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He gives the character's their voice which I can't do in my head.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Intriguing,murder mystery set in Tudor England

Any additional comments?

My first C J Hanson novel but definitely not the last - so glad my friend recommended the novels.. Going to put another on my ipod for a long haul flight - I'd rather listen to a book than watch a movie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Tudor times brought to life

Where does Heartstone rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The best

Who was your favorite character and why?

Matthew Shardlake is an honest compassionate lawyer who you'd be glad to have on your side if you were in trouble.A warm, kind, sensitive man who has to bear the affliction of being a hunchback in a time when such a condition aroused fear and suspicion.

What does Anton Lesser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Anton Lesser is simply the best reader. His voice is so expressive, he breathes life into each character and is also very good at regional accents.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Mystery and intrique in Tudor England

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Heartstone

I was very pleased to see this on the list, Anton Lesser is fabulous as usual. Why oh why is it abridged?? I normally avoid them not seeing the point at all. Having read the book it misses out some of the great details that make Sansom books so good. Abridged books are to be avoided !!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartstone

The minute I start listening to these stories by C.J. Sansom I am transported back in time and I am living it. The period comes alive, the sights, smells and above all the fear.
I love these books by C.J. Sansom and I thoroughly enjoy the reading by this narrator. I could listen to his reading over and over again. More please.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

To battle

Shardlake rides to the rescue again of someone in need. A simple request by Queen Jane combined wtith his own curiosity about a woman in Bedlam turns a journey to Portsmouth into a glimpse into one of Henry VIII's disastrous clashes with the French and a gripping tale of mystery and intrigue.

Set in the turbulent period of Henry VIII's reign, this book offers both solid historical fact and an entertaining story about Lawyer Shardlake, a minnow in the hands of his enemies in Henry's court like the powerful Richard Rich.

Anton Lesser has read all the Shardlake series to date and has made them his own now, a better reader cannot be found

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A MUST HAVE FOR LOVERS OF TUDOR HISTORY!

Yet another terrific book from C.J. Sansom! The narrative by Anton Lesser must be somewhere near the top for the magical characterisation of his readings! I just could not stop listening (all night)! This particular part of Henry VIII reign is given a quite different angle! Just wonderful!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • Frome, Somerset, United Kingdom
  • 07-10-10

Another great story from C.J.Sansom

What can i say another reverting story about Shardlake and Barak with interesting historical facts,

Having listened to all the other Shardlake stories i really enjoyed this one and excellently read by Anton Lesser.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spellbinding story

A captivating story with twists and turns of intrigue, secrets, murder and of course the historical facts interwoven with them. Superbly read by Anton Lesser as he gives the drama full colour and excitement with his abundance of character voices :)