Sunday, February 1, 2009

Matthew Shardlake Rocks!

I don't usually write about the books I read, the films I watch or the Music that I listen to. I don't pretend to know anything about literary criticism or any other sort either. I belong to that class of people who know what they like.

I like Matthew Shardlake.

Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer at Lincoln's Inn in the England of Henry VIII. He lives in a series of books by C. J. Sansom, and I believe that Mr Sansom is a god!

I think that Mr Sansom must have been writing these books for a considerable time now, but I came upon them much more recently.

I first came upon Matthew in the book "Dissolution" when he was sent to investigate some curious happenings at Scarnsea Monastery by Thomas Cromwell. I don't know how often I pick up a book only to be ultimately disappointed by it, but from the moment that I turned the first page, I was hooked by Matthew Shardlake and his world.

My next visit to Matthew Shardlake's world found him at home in London in the book "Dark Fire", investigating the rumours of Greek Fire being sold to somebody, by somebody else. This time he has help in the person of the redoubtable Jack Barak, a kind of 16th Century James Bond without the gadgets.

I'm currently three quarters of the way through the third of Matthew's adventures. "Sovereign" is set in York during Henry VIII's Great Progress in the North. This time the story revolves around strange goings on in royal circles.

These books are complex, involved, full of twists and turns. I like a good thriller, but I usually have a good idea who has done what by the halfway point. I don't have that feeling with Matthew Shardlake. He isn't the most sympathetic of characters. The hunchback lawyer who seems to be despised by everyone in power, but his humanity is palpable, his intelligence remarkable.

I am very happy to say that I have the fourth book, "Revelation" sitting under the coffee table waiting to be read, just as soon as I finish "Sovereign". And with a bit of luck Matthew Shardlake's creator is thinking up another 600 page turner, just for me!

1 comment:

DianneMG said...

Ive never read any of his books, but maybe shall look out for them next time im in Waterstones.. Last read Obama's Dreams From My Father.. And before that was the Kite Runner..