Amy Reads Books


Dissolution  - C.J. Sansom At first I was a little nervous to read 'Dissolution', having lived and breathed the reformation of the church during the reign of Henry VIII for my A-Level History course. However, Sansom's novel is a really good blend of history and plot that kept me gripped despite me thinking I could do without reading anything about the Tudors for a very long time!'Dissolution' follows Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer in Tudor England who works for Lord Cromwell, Henry VIII's key adviser at the time of the Reformation. When a murder takes place during a visitation to a remote monastery, Shardlake is sent by Cromwell to investigate both the murder and the monastery itself. When there, accompanied by his assistant Mark, Shardlake discovers more horrors, but also the very human cost of the reformation.As a character Shardlake, from whose perspective we view the tale, is hardly a conventional hero. He's a hunchback, a unique circumstance regardless of the period, and he is also not a perfect character. He suffers rather massive mood swings, is perhaps rather too eager to accept the government's line and spends an awful lot of time feeling sorry for himself. Around him, there are numerous other really interesting characters, I particularly was interested in Brother Guy, a North African doctor at the monastery; Brother Edwig, the infuriting monastery bursar; Alice, Guy's assistant who is a very fiery, strong female character and even Cromwell himself, who is not in the novel much but is very well portrayed, in terms of what we know from history.The plot itself is well-paced, with plenty of twists and turns, I found the final reveal of the murderer to particularly surprising. In addition, historical events are also neatly woven into the story to keep the context clear. I also thought that Sansom really captured an age-appropriate narrative voice for Shardlake, it wasn't at all too modern or too self-conscious.Overall, I really enjoyed 'Dissolution' and hope to read the sequel, 'Dark Fire' soon.