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Matthew Shardlake Books In Order

Publication Order of Matthew Shardlake Books

Dissolution (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dark Fire (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sovereign (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Revelation (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Heartstone (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lamentation (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


A Dark spooky night. One can hear howling wolfs and hooting owls and the clock strikes twelve. Come-on! Don’t stop! What happened next? The reading community always has a bunch of voracious readers who are hooked to crime novels and murder mysteries. It’s either the plot, the narration of the writer or the protagonist himself, drives them mad about these books. One such character who has etched his name as an undisputed leader in the space of Murder mysteries is Matthew Shardlake (Series by C.J. Sansom). The protagonist of the Shardlake Series that is reigning in the current decade, belongs to the genre of Historical mystery novels. This series has been written by C.J Sansom. The series is set in the reign of Henry VII in the 16 the century.

In the series Mr. Matthew Shardlake works on assignments bestowed upon him by people belonging to respectable families who need to unravel mysteries and safeguard their familial names. Describing our man in one word is really complex. He is a hunchbacked lawyer who is dark humoured , who has a memory of an elephant and who can connect strings far apart to unearth the hidden meaning behind words and actions.

C.J Sansom, who used to practice as a lawyer for his living came to prominence with the Shardlake series. The first ever writing to get published was Dissolution in the year 2003 published by the famous MacMillan house in London. In this book Matthew Shardlake is assigned a mission by the first Earl of Essex Thomas Cromwell. Matthew Shardlake is assisted in his adventurous missions by Mark Poer. This story deals with a murder mystery set up in the south coast of England. In 16 Th century when monasteries were getting degenerated, one of Thomas Cromwell’s commissioner gets killed. This novel that goes as a narration by Shardlake himself is gripping and intriguing. The character sketch of Shardlake is outlined in this book. He describes how he grew up, became crippled yet strong at head. As he could not help his dad with his farm work, he was stationed at London and allowed to complete his studies. He describes his nature as sober with the determination to dig till the last mile to unearth the mystery. At the crime spot Matthew Shardlake (Series by C.J. Sansom) finds the murderer in the second attempt as he overlooked his first and firm clue. The story goes very natural and the plots open up smoothly with a nice edgy reading for the audience.

The novel has been positively criticized for the plot, the characterization of Shardlake and the narration of C.J Sansom. This book has been nominated for the 2003 crime writer’s association John Creasey Memorial dagger and also for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger. Such a critical acclaim for a maiden writing gave C.J Sansom a lot of push and he continued bombarding his readers with a Shardlake adventure within short turnaround time.

The second feather to the Shardlake series was the Dark Fire. The nomination turned into an award this time with the Dark Fire. This novel too published by the MacMillan publication house in the year 2004, went ahead to claim the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger in the year 2005. In This story Shardlake is commissioned for his mission by the Tudor King Henry VII himself. The king assigns Shardlake with a mission to recover the lost formula for a Greek fire. In this novel the mystery is enveloped in a mythological background where Matthew Shardlake (Series by C.J. Sansom) is set to find the whereabouts of an ancient secret that is well hidden in a library of a dissolute London Monastery. After assisting the Earl of Essex in his previous mission, Shardlake tries hard to stay away from the accolades and retires himself into his law practice. In the second story there is a better clarity on the character of Matthew Shardlake.

He is described as an intelligent and energetic guy who speaks very little. He is simple and a man of rules. He is a firm believer of social reforms and that is why he becomes the chosen aide for these secret missions. Though after his first mission he decided to take up simple cases where in the innocent is exempted from the clutches of law, He is again pulled into a high profile assignment by the King Henry VII. In this book Shardlake has to face more dangers and death threats as this time the destination is not simple. He and Barak the assistant appointed by Cromwell himself find themselves with lot many hurdles before they end up unravelling the mystery. In this book the humanitarian and compassionate side of Shardlake can be understood as he tries to help a small girl accused of killing her cousin. He puts his heart and soul in helping her just because he feels sorry for her and she is too young to be punished hard.
Following these two chart toppers C.J Sansom came up with his successive stories in the Matthew Shardlake series namely Sovereign, Revelation, and Hearthstone etc. The latest release this year is Lamentation that has been released by Mantle publication house London. C.J Sansom who is a lawyer himself is able to put himself in the place of Shardlake and narrate the stories with the tone that makes even a non-reader get involved in his books. The simple language, the style and the ability to explain the historical details clearly as a picture in front of their eyes are the prominent features of the Shardlake series. Seeing the success of the Shardlake series, the author has promised his readers to take Shardlake to the reign of Elizabeth I.The Matthew Shardlake (Series by C.J. Sansom) have been adapted in both Radio and television. The BBC decided to adapt the Dissolution in 2007 with Kenneth Branagh set to star as Shardlake. But This did not materialize and in 2012 the loyalists of Shardlake got their share of joy with BBC Radio 4 adapted Dissolution into a 10 part radio serial adapted by renowned Colin MacDonald and his team.

Shardlake, who has lately entered the world of Sherlock homes and other connoisseurs in the field of murder mystery solving, is there to stay for a longer time. Set in a period where travel and communication were hard and strenuous, the audacity with which Matthew Shardlake (Series by C.J. Sansom) approached a problem and solutes the same is mind-blowing.

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