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Publisher's Summary

Shardlake goes to war...

Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII's invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel . . .Meanwhile, Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr.

Asked to investigate claims of ‘monstrous wrongs' committed against his young ward, Hugh Curteys, by Sir Nicholas Hobbey, Shardlake and his assistant Barak journey to Portsmouth. There, Shardlake also intends to investigate the mysterious past of Ellen Fettiplace, a young woman incarcerated in the Bedlam. Once in Portsmouth, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing for war.

The mysteries surrounding the Hobbey family and the events that destroyed Ellen's family nineteen years before, involve Shardlake in reunions both with an old friend and an old enemy close to the throne. Soon events will converge on board one of the king's great warships gathered in Portsmouth harbour, waiting to sail out and confront the approaching French fleet. . .

©2010 C. J. Sansom (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

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  • Overall
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  • Mrs
  • 12-01-15

A Dark and Enthralling blend of fact and fiction

What did you like most about Heartstone?

This is another of the Shardlake tales with its mixture of fiction set against a background of actual events that are blended seamlessly and engagingly.
This installment in the saga deals with gender issues and one of the great tragedies of British naval history: the loss of the Mary Rose. The account of the final hours of the vessel are harrowing and the reader feels there with Shardlake aboard the doomed vessel and her crew.Several narrative threads are brought together by the end of the novel and the story of Ellen, the woman confined in Bedlam is resolved.
While there is happiness for some characters there is deep tragedy for others and Matthew Shardlake finds himself confronting the seemingly invulnerable Richard Rich yet again.
The characters are fully rounded and the pace never falters. Highly recommended to lovers of fine fiction.

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Steven Crossley's narration is excellent as he captures the male characters superbly, however, his attempts with the female characters are less successful, but perhaps it is setting expectations too high.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book kept me enthralled from start to finish.

Any additional comments?

I can't wait to hear the next installment!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryanswhiskey
  • 10-11-18

Great narrator but rather disappointed with story.

I found the story rather contrived and at times could not exercise the 'voluntary suspension of disbelief'. Nevertheless a great performance by the narrator.

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  • MadgeUK
  • 07-30-18

Enthralling and Exciting!

A wonderfully complex tale of detection but the highlight was the author's description and Steven Crossley's gripping narration of the sinking of the Mary Rose at the 1645 Battle of the Solent in Chapter 48. I was glued to my chair throughout this episode, where both author and narrator excelled themselves. Double kudos! The welcome historical note at the end of the book confirmed the accuracy of Sansom's account of this gruesome battle and Henry VIII's folly. Kudos again.

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  • Ken Smith
  • 07-11-18

Hartstone by C.J.Sansom

I loved it. I thought that the narrator was brilliant. Can't wait for the next Shardlake.

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  • Lee
  • 06-23-18

Absolutely superb!

The author has brought The Tudor age alive by creating characters that you care about and a plot that twists and turns. Grabs your attention from the start.This can be a dark tale at times and certain instances can be quite descriptive and gory but this novel is set in a time that's was turbulent and bloody. For me personally this did not distract from the narrative. I couldn't put it down and was sad when it ended.

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  • McGinger
  • 06-12-18

Excellent

The Shardlake series keeps getting better and better. Very well written and performed. Can't wait to listen to the next one...

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  • David Burden
  • 05-17-18

Another excellent and intriguing story

Very well presented and a good story.
Well researched.
I always learn something new from the Shardlake novels.

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  • Eunice
  • 03-18-18

Fantastic , as always

Very interesting story with historic content
Beautifully read by Steven Crossley ... Cleaver artist. Congratulations, keep on performing.

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  • Patricia
  • 01-15-18

Stubborn Shardlake

I felt like shouting at Shardlake with this story (I've read them all) because he's so exasperating in his pursuit of an historic truth relating to a woman in Bedlam who thinks she loves him. Yeah, I know...sounds flimsy.

A few more things get thrown into the pot during this long tale but it does rather drag in places. Steven Crossley does his usual good job of narration but should, in my opinion, consult his dentist about the clacking sounds he makes from time to time. It's distracting but could be fixed.

I enjoy the escapist side of reading the Shardlake stories and the background historical detail is extremely good, but this isn't his best.

In fact, if you want the best of C.J. Sansom read "Dominion" or "Winter in Madrid" which are both excellent and set in the 20th century.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stewart Hutchings
  • 12-12-17

riveting<br />

was unable to put the book down needed to know what was going to happen next.