Tudor England is brought to vivid life in C. J. Sansom's number one bestselling Shardlake series, for fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory.
'When it comes to intriguing Tudor-based narratives, Hilary Mantel has a serious rival' - Sunday Times
'Sansom has the trick of writing an enthralling narrative. Like Hilary Mantel, he produces densely textured historical novels that absorb their readers in another time' - Andrew Taylor, Spectator
Dissolution is the first in the phenomenal Shardlake series by bestselling author, C. J. Sansom.
England, 1537: 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 altar, and the disappearance of Scarnsea's Great Relic.
Dr 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 . . .
Dissolution is the first book in this bestselling phenomenon, where C. J. Sansom creates both a stunning portrait of Tudor England, and an unforgettable character in Matthew Shardlake. Follow Shardlake into the dark heart of Tudor England with the bestselling Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, Lamentation and Tombland.
Matthew Shardlake combines engrossing historical detail with a first-rate murder mystery. A really satisfying page-turner. * Independent on Sunday *
Sansom has a greater talent for animating period details than most of his contemporaries, his rendering of the Tudor winter in the first of the Shardlake series makes you reach for thick fleece blankets. * Guardian *
Remarkable . . . The sights, the voices, the very smell of this turbulent age seem to rise from the page. -- P.D. James
Extraordinarily impressive. The best crime novel I have read this year. -- Colin Dexter
Terrific . . . a remarkable, imaginative feat. It is a first-rate murder mystery and one of the most atmospheric historical novels I've read in years. * Mail on Sunday *
Terrific. Historical fiction at its finest. -- Peter Robinson
Dissolution is not just a fascinating detective story, but a convincing portrait of a turbulent period. * Sunday Telegraph *
I don't read historical novels any more - it's a busman's holiday - but I make an exception for C. J. Sansom's Shardlake books, which are set amid the uncertainties of the 16th-century Henrician Reformation. -- Bernard Cornwell * The Times 'The 25 books you must read' *
C. J. Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a Ph.D. in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. Sansom is the bestselling author of the acclaimed Shardlake series, the Spanish Civil War thriller Winter in Madrid and the lauded alternative history novel Dominion. He lives in Sussex.