52 Books Challenge: (#22 Sovereign) A complex medieval plot!


Thomas Cromwell is dead, executed for “treason” but having been seriously undermined by other powerful forces around King Henry VIII. Sovereign is the 3rd book in CJ Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series, set in 1541 as King Henry embarks on his “Progress” to the North from London and ending at York. This is where he will seek submission and fealty from the conspirators who earlier rose up against him in rebellion.

Matthew Shardlake has been sent for by Archbishop Cranmer, despite Matthew declaring he wanted no further involvement in political intrigue after the fall of Cromwell. However Cranmer assures him that his task is supervisory in nature as he wants him to oversee the protective imprisonment and travel back to London with one of the northern conspirators, protective because Cranmer wants him alive to be questioned and tortured in The Tower! Matthew reluctantly agrees and heads to York with Jack Barak who now works for him as clerk and bodyguard.

Naturally things are not so simple, the murder of a glazier that reveals a connection to the conspiracy against the King, a jailer who has no care for the need to protect the prisoner, and a series of attacks on Matthew himself all deepen the complexity of the plot. Further elements include a disastrous meeting between Matthew and the King, an incident ridden journey by sea back to London and ……… the arrest of Matthew! Sorry, no more spoilers, buy the book and enjoy.

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