zaterdag 30 mei 2015

C. J. Sansom: Sovereign


Sovereign is the third novel in the Matthew Shardlake Series by C. J. Sansom. You can find my other review on C. J. Sansom’s work here.
This novel has 662 pages and I got it at the Boekenfestijn.

“Autumn 1541. A plot against the throne has been uncovered, and Henry VIII has set off on a spectacular progress from London to York, along with a thousand soldiers, the cream of the nobility, and his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, to quell his rebellious northern subjects. Awaiting his arrival are lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his loyal assistant, Jack Barak. In addition to processing petitions to the king, Shardlake's task is to protect a dangerous conspirator until he is transported back to London for interrogation.
But when a local glazier is murdered, things get a little more complicated as the murder seems to be not only connected to Shardlake's prisoner but also to the royal family itself. Then Shardlake stumbles upon a cache of secret papers that throws into doubt the legitimacy of the entire royal line, and a chain of events unfolds that threatens Shardlake with the most terrifying fate of the age: imprisonment in the Tower of London.”

This is not a romantic portrait of Tudor England. It is a violent, ignorant, corrupt and filthy time.
It is full of details that bring the time and the story to life. From colors, to smells, and headshakes, it all feels so real as if I’m right there.
The plot is exciting, it’s full of surprises and the ending is unexpected and satisfyingly complex.
And I just love Shardlake and Barak. They are a perfect combination of book smart and street smart. 

I did feel too sorry for Shardlake. It seems as if everything goes wrong for him and lots of people hate on him and basically hate him. It is too much.
And I wish Tamasin wasn’t as one-sided as she is. Sansom should have developed her better; more fully rounded than she is.
Lastly, it is a bit too slow. It drags in certain places. Something happens and after that, the plot just drops. I like the details and the methodical figuring out by Shardlake and Barak. But the time in between drags.

It has a few faults, but I still enjoyed it.

Happy reading!

This. Now.