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Revelation: A Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery (Matthew Shardlake Mysteries) Paperback – February 23, 2010
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Readers across America are discovering C. J. Sansom's marvelous Shardlake novels. Now, with the brilliant fourth installment in the series, Revelation is poised to bring his highly praised historical thrillers to an even wider audience. In 1543, while Tudor England is abuzz with King Henry VIII's wooing of Lady Catherine Parr, Matthew Shardlake is working to defend a teenage boy, a religious fanatic being held in the infamous Bedlam hospital for the insane. Then, when an old friend is murdered, Shardlake's search for the killer leads him back not only to Bedlam but also to Catherine Parr-and the dark prophecies of the Book of Revelation.
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The characters from the earlier books are all present - Jack Barak and his wife Tamasin, Guy the former monk Moorish physician - but they are far more than stock figures - their lives are complicated, and they develop and change with each book. Jack and Tamasin are having problems in their marriage, and Guy has taken in an apparently likeable apprentice whom Matthew distrusts. Matthew himself is thinking of the possibility of love and marriage.
Sixteenth century London comes alive under Sansom's pen, and Matthew remains one of fiction's more compelling, unique, and sympathetic heroes.
On a personal level, I found the serial killings to be gruesome enough to make me uncomfortable and I found myself skipping over some passages. I deducted one star for this, although it probably won't bother most readers.
For readers who haven't read any of the series, think about starting at the beginning. It's a great series. The characters develop and their relationships change. It's 'Dissolution,' 'Dark Fire,' 'Sovereign,' and 'Revelation.'
The Henry the VIII period is my very favorite to read about and C.J. Sansom weaves that historical era into great mystery stories and history lessons you will never forget. Don't pass up these exceptional reads.
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