C.J. Sansom’s 2104 novel Lamentation brings to a close the his six book series of Henry  VIII. Sansom brings the series to a close in great fashion filled with suspense, double-dealing and all of the intrigue surrounding the King’s court.


Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, is the centerpiece of  this novel set in the divide between conservative and radical factions  at odds over England’s religious future.  Catherine pens a secret paper, clearly outlining her leanings and of course it disappears and the Shardlake search for the potentially deadly manuscript begins.  Catherine’s very survival is at the center of the story which begins with the burning at the stake of heretic Anne Askew and two others. Familiar territory for Henry VIII.

Lamentation  qualifies as a good read from every dimension. It appears to bring the Shardlake series to a close but I will leave those details to be discovered by the reader. If you have not read  the Shardlake Sansom novels I commend the entire series to you. If you are committed, start from the beginning and read them in  chronological order.   Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation, Heartstone, Lamentation.  The characters  and story line build through each book.  It may seem like a project but I suggest it will be well worth your while. Sansom is a celebrated historical novelist and you will become an enthusiastic student of Tudor England when you embark on the Shardlake journey.

Reviews of the other Sansom Shardlake novels may be searched here at


C.J. Sansom’s Winter in Madrid is a wonderful departure from his excellent Shardlake Series.  Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, Revelation,and Heart-stone are all  Sansom novels set in sixteenth century England. ( See my overviews of the aforementioned here at


Winter in Madrid is a novel set in 1940, just after the Spanish Civil War. It is a story of love, friendship and high adventure surrounding the rescue of a young veteran who left England after the evacuation of Dunkirk to join in the fight against the Fascists in Spain. English prep school friends find themselves together on Spanish soil some seeking their fortune, others justice and lost love.

Sansom delivers a bonus history of post Civil War Spain enveloped in an intriguing story that moves with a fine pace and bountiful energy. His writing is never flowery but captures the moment perfectly with a judicious vocabulary.  One exception is ” coffee.”  You will see what I mean as you devour this good read.

Samson’s latest in the Shardlake Series is Lamentation, which is next on my Sansom list. I will post upon completion.