Lamentation - c.j.sansom
The most enjoyable part of the book was.....Returning to an old friend Shardlake for possibly his last murder mystery in Tudor England. It feels good to have read the complete set and get this 630 page monster off the to read shelf as it has been there since Dec 2014.
The most important part of the book was.....That it showed was a religious mess England had got itself into at the end of King Henry VIII's reign and how uncertain and dangerous it could be.
The Ordinary Observation...... The Shardlake books are brilliant in bringing Tudor history to life but I felt this book was maybe 50-100 pages too long. There was a lot of going up and down The Thames to see Queen Catherine and Lord Parr which was repetitive and meant it just lost a bit of its flow in my opinion.
1546 Henry is dying and religious climate is moving back towards Rome. Reformers are being burnt at stake – Shardlake ordered to witness Anne Askew burn after being racked for preaching that the communion is a myth.
New assistant Nathaniel? Young brash from the country gentry but with sharp mind.
Barak and Tamasin expecting second child. Dr (name) getting older
Household managed by couple Martin & lady. Young shy servant does not like Martin – why?
Two main threads to the story
Contest of a will by brother and sister for contents of will especially wall painiting
Shard lake asked by Lord Parr to secretly assist Queen Catherine following missing book she wrote (she did write Lamentation but it was never stolen in reality)
Plot as it happened
Shard lake sees King struggling to water a short distance. Very fat as his only pleasure is food and covered in ulcers and sores. Battle at court to be protector of Prince Edward (9)
Murder of poor printer found with torn front cover of Queens confession – brought to Lord Parr by neighbour. Anabaptists (believe only adults should be baptised)
Printers friends disappear/take flight. Elias printers apprentice murdered after running away. Last words were that he died for Anne Askew.
Printers killers seen in pub and Barak, Nich and Shard got to arrest them but after Barak injured they get away
Invented story about witness to check guards on duty in Tower when Anne Askew taken in. Myldorne confesses to smuggling out confession to group.
Guard Leeman overheard Cranmer and Queen arguing about destroying her book and got a spare key for the chest from Royal carpenter. Persuaded other guard to cover while he stole book Mary O’Dell came back and was suspicious.
Missing members of printers group spotted at docks about to sail for Flanders. After Nicholas is kidnapped by Rich’s men they agree to work together as Rich does not want news of his torture of Anne Askew to be printed.
Fight at night at docks VanDer Bryn? gets away with document Leeman captured and confesses but gets head blown off while going to toilet
As Lamentation still not found but not released agreed to call off search. All leads gone cold.
Shardlake taken to tower under accusation of Heresy with Colswyn and Cotterhill. All sent to Privy Council for questioning. Slanning’s accusations shown to be without cause but Edward admits to murder of stepfather 40 years ago. Slits his own throat when back home.
Shard lake finds out that Martin housekeeper has been paid to spy on him and it is Stice Rich’s man who he meets. Arranges a fake apoointment for night of France peace celebrations.
In resulting fight Barak’s hand is severed and he is left for dead. Shardlake and Nicholas taken to Whitehall where they find out the Paget is Stice’s real paymaster and he works for…King Henry ta daaa
King Henry not sure whether to kill Shardlake for treason who has said that idea to conceal from King was his idea. Persuaded by Paget that it would raise too many questions.
Barak taken to St Barts and Guy and just survives – Tamasin rages against Shard lake
Forward to Feb 1547 and King Henry funeral. Shardlake asked to see Queen Dowager and as thanks given role of lawyer to Princess Elizabeth