In his latest Tudor mystery, HEARTSTONE, C. J. Sansom embroils his hero, lawyer and do-gooder Matthew Shardlake, in several intrigues that take him away from London for a large part of the novel. It is 1545, and the profligate King Henry VIII is squeezing his subjects dry in order to wage an expensive military campaign against France. The king has ordered English currency devalued, levied heavy taxes, conscripted every able-bodied Englishman, and even hired foreign mercenaries to wage war against the enemy.
C. J. Sansom’s REVELATION takes place in 1543, a tumultuous year in English history. Religious fanaticism is on the rise among Protestants and Catholics alike; Henry VIII, who is ailing, has been urging Lady Catherine Parr to become his sixth wife, but she is reluctant to accept his proposal; the chasm between rich and poor is huge, with filthy, starving, and often mentally ill beggars crowding the thoroughfares…In this, the fourth installment in Sansom’s splendid series, the narrator, forty-year old lawyer Matthew Shardlake, seems to have finally found peace of mind.