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Summary

The eagerly anticipated new Shardlake novel from the number-one best-selling author.

Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry's successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward.

As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry's sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake's old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr.

Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen. For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down.

But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has - inexplicably - vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.

Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet print shops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either.

The theft of Queen Catherine's book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.

©2014 C. J. Sansom (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Critic reviews

"CJ Sansom is highly skilled at weaving together the threads of his plot with the real and riveting history… The atmosphere of fear and suspicion is brilliantly rendered…as the plot draws to a clever and satisfying conclusion, Sansom gives us a clue about where the king’s death will take Shardlake and it is a spine-tingling prospect." (Antonia Senior, The Times)
"This gripping new novel by the inventive CJ Sansom shows that, when it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival… From the fact that the historical Catherine Parr did write the Lamentation of a Sinner, Sansom elaborates a multistranded fiction. Partly a detective story as Shardlake solves the how and why of the theft, partly a thriller with casualties mounting in the search for the book’s whereabouts, partly a panoramic re-creation of the turbulent London of 1546, from the court’s gilded warren of intrigue to publishers makeshift huts in the shadow of St Paul’s. Lamentation is sure to give Sansom’s many fans further cause for jubilation." (Peter Kemp, Sunday Times Culture)
"As always, Sansom conjures the atmosphere, costumes and smells of Tudor London with vigour, from the gilded halls of Whitehall Palace to the dungeons of the Tower." (Stephanie Merritt, The Observer)
"… Shardlake shines in this expertly executed sleuth tale…It ends on a hopeful note for the many followers of this splendid series, which combines the imaginative insights of fiction with scholarly research."(Jane Jakeman, The Independent)
"It is a mark of authorial self-discipline that Sansom wears his considerable historical research lightly, subordinating it to character and action…The orchestration of plot over 600 pages, and the final twist, is literary craft of a high order…With the Shardlake series, and with this volume in particular, Sansom has surely established himself as one of the best novelists around." (Alan Judd, The Spectator)
"…his interpretation of history is always strongly substantiated and frequently provocative." (Alfred Hickling, The Guardian)
"This, the sixth of CJ Sansom’s Shardlake novels, unsurprisingly went straight to the top of the bestseller list as soon as it was published. Such is their reputation. Every book is a delight, and each one that little bit better than the last… Sansom’s skill as a writer , coupled with his exhaustive research, makes readers feel as if they are living in the period he is writing about. Hilary Mantel may gobble up the big literary prizes for her explorations of the complex mind of Shardlake’s old boss, Thomas Cromwell, but when it comes to recreating the authentic atmosphere of 500 years ago Sansom wins hands down." (Nigel Nelson, Tribune)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brodie
  • Newcastle, United Kingdom
  • 06-11-14

Like listening to a play

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

I am such a fan of CJ Sansom that he can do no wrong. The reader is just superb, I rate this book up in my top five, and will re listen to it of that there is no doubt

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

I suppose it would compare to either P Gegory or A. Weir both write about Tudor times and both are very good. Lots of historical content written within a really good story

Which character – as performed by Steven Crossley – was your favourite?

Barak, but I have to say that all the characters are so different and the voices he gives are so fitting to the character.

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

Love Tudor history and a good story this is for you

Any additional comments?

I cannot wait for another CJ Sansom book Lamentation ended with Shardlake being taken on by Elizabeth before she becomes queen I so hope that it is the start of a new era with Shardlake. I hope Barak re joins him together with Nicholas

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

Excellent

As a huge fan of Aton Lesser reading Matthew Shardlake's tales, I was wary of a new narrator at book 6. However Steven Crossley is excellent, had me hooked from the start.
Another great CJ Sansom book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • colin
  • Airdrie, United Kingdom
  • 29-12-14

Solid As Usual

Its been a while since I listened to the prvious five books in the series but within a few chapters I remembered why I loved them so much and was fully immersed in the story.

In Matthew Shardlake, CJ Sansom has created a kind, thoughtful man who seems wholly out of place in the unforgiving and sometimes barbaric world of Tudor London. This of course is what gets the main protagonist into trouble in such deep waters when surrounded by the sharks of King Henry VIII court.

Although Anton Lesser is one of my favourite narrators, Steven Crossley has done just as good a job as Lesser done on the previous books and captured the characters very well.

The author again has shown great understanding of the time period and the mix of a fictional story with non fictional events and characters with plenty of suspense and mystery makes for another solid instalment in The Shardlake series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Wonderful addition to the series!

What did you like most about Lamentation?

The Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom is my favourite series of books. Set in a period of profound turmoil and intrigue, I found Lamentation to be a gripping, thrilling listen. Lamentation has inspired me to listen to the series from the start (yet) again.

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

Steven Crossley is my favourite narrator and I was delighted to see he was continuing to narrate this series. For me the series wouldn't be the same without him.

Any additional comments?

Not only is Lamentation an excellent addition to the series, it also represents excellent value at more than 25 hours long. Incredible value for one credit.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Good story - Shame about the reader

Would you listen to Lamentation again? Why?

Probably not. For me, Steven Crossley just does't get the tone right for the story right and and has massacred the voices of Barrak and Guy Morton. His reading and the voices he gives to the character distract from the story itself.

What did you like best about this story?

A good story with some twists and turn. As ever Master Shadlake is up against the establishment and usual Barrack gets more involved than is good for him. And some new characters come into Shardlake's world and surprisingly some of the former old retainers depart.

How could the performance have been better?

If Anton Lesser had been allowed to continue narrating the Shardlake chronicles. BRING BACK ANTON LESSER - THE TRUE VOICE OF Sharlake and his friends.

35 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Karen
  • Berkeley, United Kingdom
  • 29-10-16

Magnificent

Another brilliant instalment in the Shardlake series. I hope we get a seventh. Utterly captivating!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Simply brilliant!

I have had great pleasure listening to all six books, not a poor one among them. This Shardlake novel has turned out to be my favourite. Not only a lesson in History but a thrilling plot revealed with wonderful narration I hope for more?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

intriguing and addictive

Fantastic interpretation of historical events. A quick paced and enthralling tale that kept me listening avidly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another gripping adventure for Mathew Shardlake.

What did you like most about Lamentation?

The pace of the adventure raced along. As usual there is lots of historical information well researched.

What about Steven Crossley’s performance did you like?

Everything. The Characters were easily identified and the pace of the storytelling perfect.

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I always enjoy C J Sanson's writing but this was outstanding. Best yet.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Bring back Anton Lesser

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Story is great but I was so disappointed by the narrator that it has spoiled it for me. Anton Lesser is Shardlake!

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

All of the Shardlake books are great

How could the performance have been better?

Bring back Anton Lesser!

Any additional comments?

Please whoever is responsible for changing the narrator think again!

10 of 15 people found this review helpful