A Shardlake Novel

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Shardlake goes to war...

Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII's invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel. As the English fleet gathers at Portsmouth, the country raises the largest militia army it has ever seen. The King has debased the currency to pay for the war, and England is in the grip of soaring inflation and economic crisis. Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Asked to investigate claims of "monstrous wrongs" committed against a young ward of the court, which have already involved one mysterious death, Shardlake and his assistant, Barak, journey to Portsmouth.

Once arrived, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing to become a war zone; and Shardlake takes the opportunity to also investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettipace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam. The emerging mysteries around the young ward, and the events that destroyed Ellen's family nineteen years before, involve Shardlake in reunions with both an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne. Events will converge on board one of the King's great warships, primed for battle in Portsmouth harbour...

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One

The churchyard was peaceful in the summer afternoon. Twigs and branches lay strewn across the gravel path, torn from the trees by the gales which had swept the country in that stormy June of 1545. In London we had escaped lightly, only a few chimneypots gone, but the winds had wreaked...
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A New York Times Notable Crime Book of 2011

The Spectator (UK)
“Atmospheric and erudite . . . . Not since Umberto Eco penned The Name of the Rose has a historical crime novelist captured so perfectly a people and their place, and harnessed them with such intelligence and credibility to shadowy tales of politics, misdeeds, murder and mystery.”
Lancashire Evening Post
“An enthralling historical crime novel packed with details of life in Tudor England. Highly recommended.”
Irish Independent
“Compulsively readable and highly satisfying. . . . An entirely engrossing novel with an intriguing twist.”
Daily Express

“This wonderful Tudor-era series is must reading for any devotee of historical mysteries.”
 — Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail
“Another fascinating story from a gifted author.”
 — London Free Press
“A rousing tour de force of period re-creation, testifying to Sansom’s fascination with history. . . . Like all the Shardlake books, Heartstone winningly shows Sansom’s crafty flair for hoodwinking even the most hawk-eyed reader. . . . What there is no doubt about . . .  is the breadth of Sansom’s achievement in this novel that twists together murder mystery and turbulent history.”
 — Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times