Set in the late fall of 1537, after the death of Queen Jane Seymour in October, Matthew Shardlake is given a commission by Thomas Cromwell, one of King Henry VIII’s henchman, to investigate a mysterious murder in a monastery on the Sussex coast. At that moment in history, Cromwell is in charge of “reforming” the monasteries, which basically means seizing their land, tearing them down and throwing the monks and their servants out on the street. England was never the same again, and if you have ever visited England and wondered why so many monasteries lie in ruins, this novel will answer your questions.
Rich in period detail, this novel has believable characters and clever plot twists. I enjoyed reading it, but readers should be warned that there is a fair amount of violence, in keeping with the time period, with some rather stomach-churning details. You definitely don’t want to read this before eating! Five stars.