Dark Fire is the second  of the Matthew Shardlake Mystery Series written by the acclaimed historical fiction novelist C.J. Sansom.  If one is looking for a painless way to enjoy the history of Tudor England ( Henry VIII)  read all of this wonderful Sansom series which begins with Dissolution and currently ends with Heartstone.


The search for the secret of Dark Fire, desperately sought by Thomas Cromwell on behalf of Henry VIII ,leads  lawyer Shardlake through the perils of  multiple murders and further intrigue.  Anne Boleyn has already been beheaded and  Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry , is about to be dethroned in favor of  Catherine Howard.  Amidst the turmoil of the king’s wives, Cromwell seeks to protect his own position by providing the monarchy with the formula for Dark-Fire, an ancient form of flame thrower, which in its day, in warfare,  was akin to a modern-day nuclear missile.  He turns to Shardlake to unravel the mystery and find this weapon for the king.

As is usual with Sansom, there is a parallel plot, this time involving  Shardlake trying to keep a young woman falsely accused of murder from death by torture, of course in the Tower of London.

Dark Fire is a highly recommended  gordonsgoodread!  If you are new to Sansom pick up his work and read them in the following order: Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation and Heartstone.  Overviews of these Sansom books can be searched at gordonsgoodreads.com.


Finish these and you will be a well-informed conversationalist regarding Tudor England.The  Sansom novels present history and humanity folded together in perfect form.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.