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Summary

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.

What members say

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  • Overall
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Even Better Than The Last!

What did you like most about Dark Fire?

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!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Matthew Shardlake is definitely my favourite character.

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I listened to the first book which was excellent. Try listening to them in order.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed, worried and loved.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Engrossing

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Su
  • 22-02-18

Excellent Story

I have dementia which means it’s hard to follow a story.

This was well written but more importantly well read. It’s the reading that helps me to engage and understand.

Thank I love Matthew Shardlake and look forward to listening to the next book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great story. Brilliantly narrated.

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Intelligent historical mystery

If you could sum up Dark Fire in three words, what would they be?

Intricate, intriguing, satisfying.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed it, even more than the Dissolution.

Great performance, pace is good albeit a bit too slow for my liking sometimes, better than music on a long drive.

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Back in time to busy but deadly Tudor London

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great story with historical detail read with conviction

What did you like best about this story?

The insight it gave me into Tudor life

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The discovery of the treachery of the accused murderess family

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Barack's dry humour made me smile. Some scenes were genuinely tense and frightening

Any additional comments?

It was easy to imagine yourself in the story- thoroughly enjoyable

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Excellent

I have read all C J Sansom books in the Shardlake series and enjoyed each and every one of them. Now I am equally enjoying listening to them in audible form.
I don’t think there could be a better narrator than Steven Crossley for these books, he does a brilliant job in bringing each and every character realistically to life.
I feel than C J Sansom has found a greater depth to Matthew in this second book and I’ve enjoyed seeing the relationship between Matthew and Barak grow.
Definitely recommended if you have a love of Tudor history.

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Read with great competence

Steven Crossley narrated with clarity and expressiveness; he deals with the social range of characters impeccably. Dark Fire is an intriguing mystery which takes place in a vividly created Tudor London.

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A cracking story,

Well told, a gripping tale with fascinating historical insights, great character development and a well charged climax.