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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Lamentation by CJ Sansom

Lamentation - C.J. Sansom

It is no secret that I adore CJ Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series. You all know it. My kids know it. I should probably start a fan club. This book is one more reason to get your hands on some Team Matthew paraphernalia.

The story in this installment of Matthew's story brings him in contact, once again, with the lovely Catherine Parr. Though he claims to desire a quiet life and toys with the idea of moving to the country, the adventures that Matthew gets himself involved in make one wonder if he does not truly thrive on it the same way that Barak does.

With twists and turns that at times left me wondering where on earth the plot was leading, this novel is centered on the fictional theft of Queen Catherine's manuscript of Lamentation of a Sinner before it was published. This brings Shardlake into a rather uncomfortable relationship with his nemesis Richard Rich (nobody who is really going to move quietly to the country has a nemesis).

Tudor England is spectacularly brought to life, as it is in each Shardlake novel, this time including the stomach turning burning of Anne Askew. While Matthew still is struggling to cope with the loss of his friends on the Mary Rose, he is forced to face challenges and mysteries unlike anything he has so far. The result leaves him on course for big changes in his life, whether he is willing or not.

I was shocked and a little sad at some of the developments that were set up for the next book, but Matthew, like all of us, is helpless to hold on to time or the people in his life indefinitely. I am excited to see where Sansom takes him next.