Summer,1546,King Henry VIII is Catholic councillors engaged in a last 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, Mattew 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 place 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 Queens private chamber,it has-inexplicably-vanished.Only one page has been found,clutched in the hand of a murdered London painter.
Shardlake’s investigations take him on trail that begins among the backstreet print shops of London but leads him a Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal count,a world he had sworn never to enter again. Loyalty to the Queen will drive Whitehall Place, where Catholic enemies and protestants friends can equally be dangerous,and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind when it blows, more dangerous than either.
The secrets of Queen Catherine’s books proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotter Stroke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.
AUTHOR: C.J. SANSOM
Recommendation Links: CJ Sansom > Shardlake > Lamentation