Shardlake goes to war...
Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII's invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel . . .Meanwhile, Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr.
Asked to investigate claims of ‘monstrous wrongs' committed against his young ward, Hugh Curteys, by Sir Nicholas Hobbey, Shardlake and his assistant Barak journey to Portsmouth. There, Shardlake also intends to investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettiplace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam. Once in Portsmouth, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing for war.
The mysteries surrounding the Hobbey family and the events that destroyed Ellen's family nineteen years before, involve Shardlake in reunions both with an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne. Soon events will converge on board one of the king's great warships gathered in Portsmouth harbour, waiting to sail out and confront the approaching French fleet. . .
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A Dark and Enthralling blend of fact and fiction
This is another of the Shardlake tales with its mixture of fiction set against a background of actual events that are blended seamlessly and engagingly.
This installment in the saga deals with gender issues and one of the great tragedies of British naval history: the loss of the Mary Rose. The account of the final hours of the vessel are harrowing and the reader feels there with Shardlake aboard the doomed vessel and her crew.Several narrative threads are brought together by the end of the novel and the story of Ellen, the woman confined in Bedlam is resolved.
While there is happiness for some characters there is deep tragedy for others and Matthew Shardlake finds himself confronting the seemingly invulnerable Richard Rich yet again.
The characters are fully rounded and the pace never falters. Highly recommended to lovers of fine fiction.
Steven Crossley's narration is excellent as he captures the male characters superbly, however, his attempts with the female characters are less successful, but perhaps it is setting expectations too high.
The book kept me enthralled from start to finish.
I can't wait to hear the next installment!