In 1545, times are perilous for London counsel Matthew Shardlake and for his country. While the English, heavily taxed and with their coinage debased by Henry VIII, prepare for a naval attack from the French at Portsmouth, Shardlake takes on a case at the request of Catherine Parr on behalf of her former servant, whose son committed suicide after discovering “monstrous wrongs” against a teenage ward he once tutored. As the 43-year-old, hunchbacked Shardlake seeks to uncover secrets in the ward’s household, he also investigates the past of a presumably sane woman kept for years in Bedlam. Even with the queen’s patronage, the dogged Shardlake is threatened bodily while pursuing answers to both cases, which ultimately pit him against his old court nemesis, Sir Richard Rich.
As usual Sansom captures the period vividly and it's a rollicking good read. Can't wait for the next one!