I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. The author is very skilled at weaving the history and culture of the period into the story without inserting long lectures that stop the movement of the story. I liked the main character, Matthew Shardlake, even with his flaws and religious zeal. I hope Brother Guy turns up in a later book, though I agree he sounded Russian rather than Moorish. (I have found the same thing with other narrators trying to do a Middle Eastern accent.)
I considered giving the book a 5 but it could have done with one less murder. And Shardlake did seem to flounder, accusing almost everyone of murder at some point in the story. There weren't many options left by the end.
I have now finished all four of Ruth Downie's series. The stories and characters grew better with each volume and I can't wait for the next one. Simon Vance is a great narrator. I love the continuing characters that run throughout the four books. I recently listened to the first book in Maddox's SPQR series and was disapointed, having enjoyed the Medicus and his adventures so much.
A treat to listen to. The story moved well and surprising twists kept the reader guessing. Each book has gotten better. I am looking forward to the next. I would have given the story a 5 but I agree with some others that the setting could easily be changed to another time period except for a few details. The Roman aspect could be stronger.
I didn't actually like the Jacqueline Winspear books, although I wanted to, but I did like this one. I've started the second in this series and it's even better. In this first book, I think the writing was a bit 'loose', if that makes sense. I mean that sometimes people seemed to talk too long about a topic, but overall I liked it very much. It really is, as someone said, a cozy spy book, which I think is a new genre. There was a lot more plot than I expected, with some real surprises and the heroine is definitely the 'heroine', meaning a bit larger than life. It's many decades since I read Nancy Drew, but I remember admiring her as a young girl and this heroine is worth looking up to as well, as she solves problems that don't tend to happen in everyday life.
One always associates the "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto to the British and the 'stiff upper lip", but I had never really connected it to wartime, Winston Churchill, and that resolute attitude he helped the Brits maintain, before it was known that Hitler was not going to be able to steamroll over Britain as well. I find it a more inspiring quote now, plus we learned a variation: KPO for Keep Plodding On and another variation in Book 2. Good for some days at work! Also, helps one to remember every day to be grateful for NOT being in a war zone.