Saturday, November 21, 2009


Pages: 576
Date: 21/11/2009
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 2 Matthew Shardlake Mystery

It is 1540 and it has been three years since lawyer Matthew Shardlake undertook a very distressing investigation for Thomas Cromwell.
He is asked to defend a girl who has been accused of murdering her young cousin, but it appears his efforts are in vain when the girl is granted a ten day reprieve from torture on Cromwell's orders. In return, Shardlake has to undertake another investigation for Cromwell.
The secret of the legendary and very destructive Greek Fire has been found in one of London's dissolved monasteries, and in ten days time, Cromwell has to demonstrate it's power to King Henry VIII. But when Shardlake, accompanied by Jack Barak, a servant of Cromwell's, goes to retrieve the stuff he finds it gone, and those who were working on discovering it's secrets brutally murdered.
Now Shardlake is facing two investigations that both have to be completed within 10 days. Failure to do so will certainly result in disaster for those involved. And both investigations come with dangerous opponents, devoid of anything resembling a conscience and willing to sacrifice anything and everybody to get their way.
This series is very well written and gives a detailed, at times brutally honest and fascinating picture of the 16th century in England. A time filled with conspiracies, uncertainty and violence. It is not an easy, comfy or fast read, and I prefer to put some space between two books in this series, but as historical mysteries go, these are among the best and the most realistic I have come across up to now.

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