DissolutionThis book is nothing short of fantastic. Not only does Sansom manage to enthrall his readers with a great classical “whodunnit”, but he also builds up a very vivid and clear picture of a 1530-monastery in Scarnsea, Sussex. The mastery does not end there, however. The author weaves in the political turmoil that is Henry VIIIs rule and the dissolution of the monasteries in England.

The protagonist, Mathew Shardlake, is a lawyer at Lincoln’s Inn in London, sent to investigate the murder of one of Thomas Cromwell’s Commissioners, who has been sent to investigate the Scarnsea monastery. The body has been brutally mutilated, but the altar of the monastery’s altar has been used to sacrifice a black cockerel and a great relic has been stolen. Surely, a group of Satanic worshipers have killed the commissioner and performed these acts of sacrilege?

We follow Shardlake as he slowly uncovers the truth behind the Commissioner’s murder and how the investigation leads him all the way to the inner circles of Henry VIII’s court.

This is CJ Sansom’s first book, but he shows no “rookie”-signs whatsoever. A great mystery novel, combined with a fascinatng history lesson. I knew very little of The Dissolution nor of Thomas Cromwell when I started this book, and I had only heard a little of Henry VIII and all his wives. All of a sudden it has become a favorite historical period of mine, and I immediately started watching “The Tudors” on DVD.

The books is a definite FIVE, which makes rating his other books even harder, since they’re even better.

Final Grade: 5/5

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