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Dissolution Paperback – Jan 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA (2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142004308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142004302
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 12.4 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #216,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 26 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Book 1, in the Matthew Shardlake series

Set in the 16th century during the dissolution of the monasteries. This first story features lawyer Matthew Shardlake and follows him in his attempts to solve the murder of one of Thomas Cromwell’s commissioners in the monastery at Scarnsea on the south coast of England. The period is shortly after the beheading of Anne Boleyn and during the religious revolution. “Dissolution” is elegantly written and is a riveting portrayal of Tudor England.

At first this novel seems to be your classic whodunit, a fairly standard murder-mystery genre which includes bizarre and grisly murder, some red herrings, a few twists and a lot of suspense, of course a little bit of romance to boot. But reading along you fast discover that the vivid backdrop of Cromwell’s war against the monasteries, all the tension between the Papists and the Reformers that brew throughout the pages, the remorseless portrait of a violent and the terrifying business of encountering the king and authorities are so brilliantly done to place this novel in a league of its own. The narrative style is competently handled by the well-rounded Shardlake in a straightforward prose using words as true to the era as possible. A sub plots has a subtle love triangle nicely done and others are weaves effortlessly into the main plot to tease us till the gasping ending.

This is one atmospheric novel I enjoyed quite a bit and looking forward to “Dark Fire” its sequel.
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By Jean-Bernard Trouve on 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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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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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 By Dave and Joe TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 13 2007
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 By Richard J. Mcisaac on 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.
Read more ›
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