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Summary

Tombland is the seventh novel in C. J. Sansom's number one best-selling Shardlake series

Spring, 1549.

Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos....

The nominal king, Edward VI, is 11 years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.

Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of the wife of John Boleyn, a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother - which could have political implications for Elizabeth - brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding the death of Edith Boleyn, as a second murder is committed.

And then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, England’s second largest.

Barak throws in his lot with the rebels; Nicholas, opposed to them, becomes a prisoner in Norwich Castle; while Shardlake has to decide where his ultimate loyalties lie, as government forces in London prepare to march north and destroy the rebels. Meanwhile he discovers that the murder of Edith Boleyn may have connections reaching into both the heart of the rebel camp and of the Norfolk gentry....

Includes a historical essay from the author on Reimagining Kett's Rebellion.

©2018 C. J. Sansom (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

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  • Overall
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Shardlake again entangled in Tudor history

Thank you both to Mr Sansom for the great research and writing and to Steven Crossley for yet another great reading. I sincerely appreciate the work it must have taken from both to bring such a massive work to life.

As others have said, this is yet again a wonderful tapestry of well-researched history interwoven with the adventures of Shardlake and his friends. Enjoyable and believable characters caught up in significant events in Tudor England.

The story pays homage to the struggles of a group of people, many of whom gave their lives in an early attempt to gain some of the freedoms we enjoy today. When I listen to such a detailed account as this and hear the hardships and lack of human rights our ancestors had to endure, it helps me appreciate what we have now and what sacrifices it has taken over the centuries to get us here.

Thank you and like others have said, I hope to enjoy another Shardlake story read by Mr Crossley in the not too distant future.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Another Great Book

I think the reviewer above has made a mistake. Steven Crossley has narrated ALL of the unabridged Shardlake books (I have all of them), perhaps whoever ‘Anton’ is narrates the abridged ones and the reviewer made a mistake and thought they’d bought that. Not sure! But Steven Crossley has narrated all of the series and the voices are exactly the same as normal. I write this so no one is put off by reading an erroneous review.

The book itself is great, just as all the others have been, perhaps a little more intricate than some of the previous ones which I personally love. Shardlake himself is the same as ever, a nice mixture of sympathetic and harsh! I’m so glad Barack is still in it as I was disappointed when I thought he may be written out, but he’s here!

It’s nice that we’ve moved forward a little historically too. This particular period isn’t much written about (when Edward was King and Elizabeth just ‘Lady Elizabeth’ and so that made it interesting too.

It’s long, which I also loved, having waited for months for this novel!

If you like the Shardlake series, you will LOVE this. Personally, I would not have bought it if anyone other than Steven Crossley had narrated as I love his characterisations and he is consistent (which doesn't always happen).

It’s also not quite as brutal as some of the other historical novels encompassing this period of history, it has its gruesome bits, but it’s not the main focus of the story.

Enjoy it!

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant! 5 star Brilliant!

An excellent Shardlake novel, combining a murder mystery with an in depth historical account of the Norwich rebellion, a pure joy to listen to, and kept me entertain for start to finish, include the 3 hours plus of historical notes at the end, fascinating stuff

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Be still, my beating heart!

I can't believe I got through this book in 3 days! I absorbed it! Love Matthew Shardlake more than ever and all I can say is: Please, Mr Sansom, release the next book soon.

As always, I love the amount of detail and study entailed in the writing of this book. It lets me so vividly imagine what life in these cruel but fascinating times must have been like. Steven Crossley, as ever, has ensnared me with his voice - I have no idea who he is or what he looks like, but on his voice alone I'd marry him in a heartbeat! Haha!

What ever am I going to do until the next book is released?!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Superb - Samson’s best yet

Matthew Shardlake investigates a brutal murder in Norfolk while caught up in the widespread popular revolts against corrupt and unjust rulers.

With a wide range of characters from paupers to Royalty, the story is gripping from start to finish.

The backdrop is people’s revolt and war, enriched with lots of detail about the period. Personal touches brining to life the city of Norwich, rhe countryside and the rebel camps.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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As good as always!

Terrific writing, with superb narration. SC - the voice of Shardlake. I really feel like Shardlake and friends are acquaintances after listening to al his books. A wonderful insight into a turbulent time in England. I highly recommend this audiobook, but if you can, start at book 1. By doing so you will meet and get to know the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Magnificant!

I've read or listened to all the Shardlake novels and enjoyed them all. I think this is the finest yet. Full of memorable characters, a gripping story set in a turbulent time in English history just after the death of Henry VIII. I couldn't stop listening. At the end of the book there is a long section where the author describes his numerous sources for the factual content of his book and fleshes out the political, social and historical background to his story. It's altogether a clever and imaginative working together of real and fictional characters to bring the actual events to life.

The narrator does a splendid job and I cannot understand why one reviewer thought him poor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Tombland

Amazing as usual from cj Sansom full of great characters loved sooty intrigue is most plentiful but wonderful shardlake works hard to solve it Barak and Nicholas are ever helpful and to add to the pleasure Steven crossley brings it all to life he manages all the.voices so well to really believe they are different people so good to listen to look forward to the next one m.h

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So good to have Shardlake back

Another great story from C J. Sansom
I thoroughly enjoyed it and as always it was narrated beautifully. it was really interesting to hear about the little known story of Robert Kett and from both sides

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Lot of Book for a 1-week Holiday

A welcome return of Matthew Shardlake, it's been too long.
Sansom has clearly not been idle though. Thoroughly researched. great pace, although over 800 pages meant I couldn't quite finish it on a one week holiday (slow reader - first world problem)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful