|REVELATION by C. J. Sansom|
C.J Sansom recreates the Tudor world with an ease that all historical fiction authors should aspire to. The stories are not always fast paced or addictive, but for me it is not really the power of the story or plot that keeps me coming back again and again, it is the power of the author to open a window in time through which I feel and see and smell Tudor England.It happens everytime I pick up one of these books. They are most reliable in that respect.
In this fourth instalment of the Matthew Shardlake series, our window is into 1543 London. Henry VIII is courting Catherine Parr, the Parliament has brought in controversial anti-reformist legislation - the legislation that includes prohibiting women and the working classes from reading the bible – and religious radicals and conservatives are pulling apart the cultural and social fabric of the city.
Within this maelstrom, Matthew and Barak are confronted with an all new horror. Gruesome deaths the like of which they have never seen. The like of which the city has never seen. Orchestrated with the methodical cunning and pathological cruelty that we relate now to being the potential handiwork
of serial killers. But in the Sixteenth Century, a time of intense religious fervour, some can only fathom it as demonic possession.
Running parallel to these killings is the story of a young man, Adam Kite. His peculiar and desperate behaviour having landed him in The Bedlam, Shardlake is appointed to the boys case and he must solve the riddle of this young man's mind before the conservative powers would have him burned or some such other grisly fate.
If there is anything I can point to as a negative with this book - a negative for me at least - it would be the amount of religious discussion inserted into the story. For other readers it would be appropriate and interesting, and while I do agree with its appropriateness (as the country was alive with religious debate) I would not agree with it being interesting. I would have shaved it back a degree as it got in the way of the semi thrilling hunt for a killer or killers.