Lamentation : Matthew Shardlake

  • by C. J. Sansom
  • Narrated by Steven Crossley
  • Series: Matthew Shardlake
  • 25 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The eagerly anticipated new Shardlake novel from the number-one best-selling author.
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.

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What the Critics Say

"CJ Sansom is highly skilled at weaving together the threads of his plot with the real and riveting history... The atmosphere of fear and suspicion is brilliantly rendered...as the plot draws to a clever and satisfying conclusion, Sansom gives us a clue about where the king's death will take Shardlake and it is a spine-tingling prospect." (Antonia Senior, The Times)
"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)
"As always, Sansom conjures the atmosphere, costumes and smells of Tudor London with vigour, from the gilded halls of Whitehall Palace to the dungeons of the Tower." (Stephanie Merritt, The Observer)
"... Shardlake shines in this expertly executed sleuth tale...It ends on a hopeful note for the many followers of this splendid series, which combines the imaginative insights of fiction with scholarly research."(Jane Jakeman, The Independent)
"It is a mark of authorial self-discipline that Sansom wears his considerable historical research lightly, subordinating it to character and action...The orchestration of plot over 600 pages, and the final twist, is literary craft of a high order...With the Shardlake series, and with this volume in particular, Sansom has surely established himself as one of the best novelists around." (Alan Judd, The Spectator)
"...his interpretation of history is always strongly substantiated and frequently provocative." (Alfred Hickling, The Guardian)
"This, the sixth of CJ Sansom's Shardlake novels, unsurprisingly went straight to the top of the bestseller list as soon as it was published. Such is their reputation. Every book is a delight, and each one that little bit better than the last... Sansom's skill as a writer , coupled with his exhaustive research, makes readers feel as if they are living in the period he is writing about. Hilary Mantel may gobble up the big literary prizes for her explorations of the complex mind of Shardlake's old boss, Thomas Cromwell, but when it comes to recreating the authentic atmosphere of 500 years ago Sansom wins hands down." (Nigel Nelson, Tribune)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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

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- Brodie

Good story - Shame about the reader

Would you listen to Lamentation again? Why?

Probably not. For me, Steven Crossley just does't get the tone right for the story right and and has massacred the voices of Barrak and Guy Morton. His reading and the voices he gives to the character distract from the story itself.


What did you like best about this story?

A good story with some twists and turn. As ever Master Shadlake is up against the establishment and usual Barrack gets more involved than is good for him. And some new characters come into Shardlake's world and surprisingly some of the former old retainers depart.


How could the performance have been better?

If Anton Lesser had been allowed to continue narrating the Shardlake chronicles. BRING BACK ANTON LESSER - THE TRUE VOICE OF Sharlake and his friends.


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- Lesley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-10-2014
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.