A Shardlake Novel

Publisher: Vintage Canada
It is spring, 1543 and King Henry VIII is wooing Lady Catherine Parr, whom he wants for his sixth wife — but this time the object of his affections is resisting. Archbishop Cranmer and the embattled Protestant faction at court are watching keenly, for Lady Catherine is known to have reformist sympathies.

Matthew Shardlake, meanwhile, is working on the case of a teenage boy, a religious maniac who has been placed by the King's council in the Bedlam hospital for the insane. Should he be released as his parents want, when his terrifying actions could lead to him being burned as a heretic?

Then, when an old friend is horrifically murdered, Shardlake promises his widow — for whom he has long had complicated feelings — to bring the killer to justice. His search leads him to connections not only with the boy in Bedlam, but with Archbishop Cranmer and Catherine Parr, and with the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

As London's Bishop Bonner prepares a purge of Protestants, Shardlake, together with his assistant Jack Barak and his friend Guy Malton, follow the trail of a series of horrific murders that shake them to the core. Murders which are already bringing about frenzied talk of witchcraft and a demonic possession, for what else would the Tudor mind make of a serial killer?

From the Hardcover edition.


The high chandeliers in the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn were ablaze with candles, for it was late afternoon when the play began. Most members of Lincoln’s Inn were present, the barristers in their robes and their wives in their best costumes. After an hour standing watching, my back was starting to ache, and I...
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Praise for the Matthew Shardlake series:

"Remarkable. . . . The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page."
P.D. James

"Terrific . . . a remarkable, imaginative feat. It is a first-rate murder mystery and one of the most atmospheric historical novels I've read in years."
The Mail on Sunday

"Historical crime fiction is sometimes little more than a modern adventure in fancy dress. Not so the novels of C. J. Sansom, whose magnificent books set in the reign of Henry VIII bring to life the sounds and smells of Tudor England . . . Dark Fire is a creation of real brilliance."
The Sunday Times (UK)

From the Hardcover edition.