Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry's successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward.
As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry's sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake's old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr.
Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen. For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down.
But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has - inexplicably - vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.
Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet print shops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either.
The theft of Queen Catherine's book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.
"This gripping new novel by the inventive CJ Sansom shows that, when it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival… From the fact that the historical Catherine Parr did write the Lamentation of a Sinner, Sansom elaborates a multistranded fiction. Partly a detective story as Shardlake solves the how and why of the theft, partly a thriller with casualties mounting in the search for the book’s whereabouts, partly a panoramic re-creation of the turbulent London of 1546, from the court’s gilded warren of intrigue to publishers makeshift huts in the shadow of St Paul’s. Lamentation is sure to give Sansom’s many fans further cause for jubilation." (Peter Kemp, Sunday Times Culture)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Brodie on 06-11-14
Like listening to a play
Where does Lamentation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I am such a fan of CJ Sansom that he can do no wrong. The reader is just superb, I rate this book up in my top five, and will re listen to it of that there is no doubt
What other book might you compare Lamentation to, and why?
I suppose it would compare to either P Gegory or A. Weir both write about Tudor times and both are very good. Lots of historical content written within a really good story
Which character – as performed by Steven Crossley – was your favourite?
Barak, but I have to say that all the characters are so different and the voices he gives are so fitting to the character.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Love Tudor history and a good story this is for you
Any additional comments?
I cannot wait for another CJ Sansom book Lamentation ended with Shardlake being taken on by Elizabeth before she becomes queen I so hope that it is the start of a new era with Shardlake. I hope Barak re joins him together with Nicholas
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Michelle on 07-06-16
As a huge fan of Aton Lesser reading Matthew Shardlake's tales, I was wary of a new narrator at book 6. However Steven Crossley is excellent, had me hooked from the start.
Another great CJ Sansom book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful