Version: Abridged
Author: C.J. Sansom
Narrator: Simon Jones
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Mystery, Thriller & Horror, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HighBridge Company
Published In: May 2003
# of Units: 8 CDs
Length: 9 hours, 30 minutes
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The first in a new mystery series set in tumultuous world of 16th century England.

Matthew Shardlake, a keenly intelligent hunchback lawyer, is in the service of Lord Thomas Cromwell, an ambitious advisor to King Henry VIII. Shardlake, and many like him, sought to create a world in which faith and charity would be enough to settle differences. But following England's break with the Roman Catholic Church, Cromwell is charged with suppressing the country's monasteries and confiscating their land. by the winder of 1537, his actions have led to rebellion and executions. The disembodied heads of accused traitors line the spikes on London Bridge was a warning to others.

Dissolution is the first in a series of Shardlake mysteries that introduces the underbelly of Cromwell's efforts to turn England into a Protestant state. Harsh new laws, rigged trials, networks of informers, and Queen Anne Boleyn herself executed on questionable charges--the scene is set for reform and for Cromwell supporter Matthew Shardlake to enter a hellish cauldron of personal, social, and political upheaval. As Shardlake starts to doubt Cromwell's methods for achieving reform, he is sent to investigate a monastery murder that only serves to fuel his suspicions, even as his own loyalty comes under the microscope.

Reviews (2)

A good mystery

Written by Anonymous on April 5th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This wasn't a great book like Thirteenth Tale, but I definitely found myself becoming involved and caring the characters. I enjoyed setting of the story--a monastery just months before its dissolution at the hands of Henry VIII. The plot was complicated enough to keep me curious, but not too involved or complicated that I couldn't figure it out. I enjoyed the story a lot.


Written by Kathy on March 17th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

First, this book is very reminiscent of Name of the Rose (not necessarily a bad thing, but just know that it seems derivative). Second, do not listen to this while driving as the narrator can put you to sleep.

Author Details

Author Details

Sansom, C.J.

C. J. Sansom was educated at Birmingham University, where he took a BA and then a Ph.D. in history. After working in a variety of jobs, he retrained as a solicitor and practised in Sussex, until becoming a full-time writer. He lives in Sussex.