• by C. J. Sansom
  • Narrated by Anton Lesser
  • 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church, and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials, and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: the monasteries are to be dissolved. But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's commissioner, Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege: a black cockerel sacrificed on the alter, and the disappearance of Scarnsea's Great Relic.
Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of reform, has been sent by Cromwell into this atmosphere of treachery and death. But Shardlake's investigation soon forces him to question everything he hears and everything that he intrinsically believes.


What the Critics Say

"Having hugely enjoyed Anton Lesser's reading of Sovereign, the third of C.J. Sansom's Tudor mystery series starring the hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake, I backtracked to hear the first two in the series, Dissolution and Dark Fire.. . As a trio, they reveal just how skilled Sansom is in creating convincing characters in a fully imagined historical world, and it is no surprise that a television series featuring Shardlake is planned. I'm not sure if Anton Lesser will star in it, but after hearing him narrate all three books, I can't imagine anyone better suited to the role... Following the text in a paperback, I let my eyes chase what my ears were hearing and was impressed at how little had to be lost." Christina Hardyment ( The Times Books)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An entertaining historical mystery with depth

This is a wonderful series. Matthew Shardlake is an engaging character who is sympathetic to the modern reader/listener without ever becoming an anachronism. He has many of the same worries as any modern person nudging middle age; he?s relatively successful in his career yet increasingly questions the validity of the work he does and frets about the dubious ? not to say murderous ? activities of the people for whom he works. And, poor bloke, he?s looking for love. Shardlake inhabits an unremittingly hard, pitiless world in which his ?deformity? makes him an easy target for open hostility. Is it too simplistic an interpretation to say his disability offers a device by which he can more readily empathise with the pain, if not downright torment, of so many people in cruel Henry?s crumbling kingdom? Even if it is, it is subtly handled and never becomes too obvious. Shardlake questions what is going on around him but never outside the boundaries of credibility. The historical backdrop, a world in which god and religion are wielded with total ruthlessness as weapons of control and destruction, is vivid and truly disturbing. The various historical characters aren?t caricatures and are fleshed out wonderfully. Any person who questions the degree of monitoring in 21st century Britain should thank whatever god they worship ? or not as the case may be ? that, for the majority of the population, spiritual correctness is generally not under government scrutiny. And long may that be the case! And, yes, I agree Anton Lesser makes a perfect Shardlake.
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- Angela

A Revalation

I had read the Shardlake novels in paperback but had put off downloading the audiobooks as I am not normally a fan of abridged novels. However, I'm really glad I changed my mind as this was superb.
Anton Lesser seemed to have got inside my head as his voice characterisation was exactly how I had imagined it. The abridgement had been carefully done with no loss to the flow of the story.
I'm not a full fledged convert to abridgement but I will download the rest of the series and would recommend this to everyone.
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- Joanne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-08-2007
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.