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Dissolution [Paperback]

C. J. Sansom
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars great read April 14 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very nice historical fiction. I did not want to put it down. i will read more book of this author.
Nice discovery
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Series... March 26 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although this is the least strong of the books - interesting time but characters a little confusing. However, throughout the series, the writing is so good that you don't really feel you're reading historical novels, you are immersed in the books, which are real page-turners, brilliant work (and I don't usually enjoy this type of book). Wish there were more!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The destruction of the British monasteries March 10 2013
Format:Paperback
This excellent novel takes place in 1536 England in the middle of the Reformation. King Henry IIIV has just executed Anne Bolin, his wife, and the supposed young lover who becomes the unwitting raison d’être of the story. The Vicar General, Thomas Cromwell, assigns Mathew Shardlake the task of uncovering the murder of a commissioner sent to St. Donatus Monastery. The Reformers wanted all the monasteries dissolved but rather than the former methods of brutal force, wanted the abbots to surrender them over peacefully.
The monasteries were loyal to Rome (papists), the lives of the monks had deteriorated far beyond their original austere rule and in fact were filled with scandal. Though they had reluctantly agreed to the new set of Cromwell rules, many surreptitiously carried on as before. Things such as: praying before a statue; latin in prayers; offerings made to relics; use of candles and the most irritating – belief in purgatory – were all now anathema. Sansom dwells often on the issue of purgatory delving into both sides of the argument. Cromwell’s true purpose in dissolution was to increase the King’s treasury and the acquisition of monastery lands and wealth. This was no hidden fact. The abuse revolving around dissolution was even more scandalizing than the monks behaviour.
The above is the current atmosphere into which Shardlake must find a killer and complete the job of surrendering. Sansom is adept at casting suspicions on each character and into deepening the plot. Just when things are close to be solved, he complicates the solution with another mystery or disaster. Shardlake ends up investigating more than one murder and is also in danger himself.
It was difficult to lay the novel down because I was anxious to see what would happen next.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dissolution and Diversity March 13 2007
By Dave and Joe TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up and couldn't put it down. Not only was I captured by the mystery, the writing and the characters - I was amazed at how Sansom could weave such a diversity of people into a historical novel. As a writer in the area of disability myself, I seldom find books that have accurate and compassionate characters with disabilities - Sanson manages this with ease. There are sections of this book that would work well in a disability studies class but even so there is never the sense of being preached at or being lectured - disability is just another aspect of the book which is there because disability has always and will always exist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DISSOLUTION in the Reformation June 7 2010
Format:Paperback
DISSOLUTION, C.J. Sansom, Viking, 2003, pp.390

This excellent novel takes place in 1536 England in the middle of the Reformation. King Henry VIII has just executed Anne Boleyn, his wife, and the supposed young lover who becomes the unwitting raison d'être of the story. The Vicar General, Thomas Cromwell, assigns Mathew Shardlake the task of uncovering the murder of a commissioner sent to St. Donatus Monastery. The Reformers wanted all the monasteries dissolved but rather than the former methods of brutal force, wanted the abbots to surrender them over peacefully.
The monasteries were loyal to Rome (papists), the lives of the monks had deteriorated far beyond their original austere rule and in fact were filled with scandal. Though they had reluctantly agreed to the new set of Cromwell rules, many surreptitiously carried on as before. Things such as: praying before a statue; latin in prayers; offerings made to relics; use of candles and the most irritating ' belief in purgatory ' were all now anathema. Sansom dwells often on the issue of purgatory delving into both sides of the argument. Cromwell's true purpose in dissolution was to increase the King's treasury and the acquisition of monastery lands and wealth. This was no hidden fact. The abuse revolving around dissolution was even more scandalizing than the monks behaviour.
The above is the current atmosphere into which Shardlake must find a killer and complete the job of surrendering. Sansom is adept at casting suspicions on each character and into deepening the plot. Just when things are close to be solved, he complicates the solution with another mystery or disaster. Shardlake ends up investigating more than one murder and is also in danger himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting historical novel May 6 2003
Format:Hardcover
The novel centers on murders at a monastery of the south coast
of England in 1537. Henry VIII is head of the Church in England,
and is taking over ("dissolving") much of the property and wealth
of the Catholic Church. Thomas Cromwell (the Vicar General of
England) sends Matthew Shardlake to Scarnsea to investigate the
murder of Cromwell's previous emissary Shardlake, who is a
hunchback, also must look into other murders as well at the
monastery.
The primary interest here is in the historical period, and the
view of political and religious matters. Anne Boleyn's beheading
occurred in 1536 on trumped-up charges of adultery, and Thomas
More was beheaded in 1535 for refusing to acknowledge the
religious primacy of Henry. Many Catholic clergy went to the
scaffold; others were racked until they renounced their faith in
favor of Henry. The novel presents a good glimpse of life in
this time of transition.
As a mystery, this is not Agatha Christie; as a look at religious
matters, this is not The Name of the Rose. The characters do not
have a richness of depth, and the overall writing is good, but
not lyrical. Read it as a good historical novel, not as a great
novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good debut book
this is the debut book by c.j. sansom, which already places him in the elite level of contemporary authors (perez-reverte, eco, et al). his writing style is exquisite. Read more
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in the monastery
Since Ellis Peters' passing, I didn't expect to read any new good murder mysteries set in English monasteries. Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by Frank J. Konopka
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating historical mystery debut
In the winter of 1537, lawyer Matthew Shardlake is asked to look into the brutal murder of a commissioner of Thomas Cromwell, the vicar general of King Henry VIII at a monastery on... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Larry
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful first novel...
If you want to see just how good this novel of Henry Tudor's time is, also read "Day of Wrath" by Iris Collier. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Ecclesiastical Thriller
I went into this book (a Christmas gift) with low expectations, expecting only a shabby period thriller. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars a treat for British history buffs
This is a great read, especially for knowledgeable fans of Tudor history. I found the characters convincing and well drawn, the mystery well plotted and the writing well paced. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice backjumping in Middle Age
This book accomplishes a very hard task in the easy way. Historical novels, in my opinion, have to unveil history by means of a plot with a clear historical setting. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by therealluigi
4.0 out of 5 stars Dissolution, The Story of a Medieval Tragedy
There is a ghastly murder in a place of religion and a young lawyer is sent down to find the murderer and set things right.
Sound familiar? Read more
Published on July 7 2003 by James Barton Phelps
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