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Publisher's Summary

As Henry VIII lies on his deathbed, an incendiary manuscript threatens to tear his court apart.

Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government. As heretics are hunted across London, and radical Protestants are burned at the stake, the Catholic party focuses its attack on Henry's sixth wife - and Matthew Shardlake's old mentor - Queen Catherine Parr.

Shardlake, still haunted by his narrow escape from death the year before, steps into action when the beleaguered and desperate Queen summons him to Whitehall Palace to help her recover a dangerous manuscript. The Queen has authored a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King's attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. Although the secret book was kept hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen's private chamber, it has inexplicably vanished. Only one page has been recovered - clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.

Shardlake's investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London, but leads him and his trusty assistant Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of court politics, a world Shardlake swore never to enter again. In this crucible of power and ambition, Protestant friends can be as dangerous as Catholic enemies, and those with shifting allegiances can be the most dangerous of all.

©2015 C.J. Sansom (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A richly entertaining and scholarly series. History never seemed so real." ( New York Times Book Review)
"Sansom seems to have born with, or instinctively acquired, that precious balance of creativity and research, history and humanity." ( Chicago Tribune)
"Sansom offers a master class in royal intrigue" ( Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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History Lesson that Goes Down Like Ice Cream

Would you consider the audio edition of Lamentation to be better than the print version?

Crossley voices his characters effortlessly. It is a tribute that I can't imagine the Shardlake books without him as narrator.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pita
  • Miami
  • 03-10-15

Lawyer/Detective solves mystery in Tudor England

Where does Lamentation rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is an excellent detective story set in Tudor Times. It is the sixth of a series featuring Mathew Shardlake, a hunchback lawyer and sleuth. Although this particular novel is excellent, it is not my favorite of the series (that continues to be "Sovereign"). "Lamentation" is a very rich and entertaining experience, and absolute heaven for a reader like me, who loves historical novels and murder mysteries/detectives stories almost equally. This series of novels is extremely well written. The characters are exquisitely developed; we find some famous Tudor figures such as archbishop Cramner and Catherine Parr playing parts in the intricate plot but there are many totally fictional characters that are equally or more important than the historical figures; it is the ordinary Tudor citizen that really brings to the reader the richness of the times. The novels are very well researched and as historically accurate as fictional pieces such as these can be

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot keeps you interested and the writer manages to move the story forward at a pretty good pace although the reader gets to know characters who may not necessarily be central to the plot very well and all of this contributes to making the times jump at the reader. Before you know it, you are really in the filthy streets of Tudor London talking to a street urchin or watching a nobleman and his retinue heading to court.

What does Steven Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator is excellent. I believe all the Shardlake books I have heard are narrated by him. He inhabits the character so well that to me he is Shardlake.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. I love historical novels and like to savor those, such as this one, that immerse you in the times. I have come to care about some of these characters (there are several that accompany Shardlake through other offerings in the series) and I like to enjoy my time with them. The mystery is almost an excuse...

Any additional comments?

I strongly recommend this book and the entire series, as a matter of fact. If you are not a lover of historical fiction you may get the bug after reading one of these. Yes, we already know Henry and his matrimonial issues; we know his queens and of course, we know that Catherine Parr was the last and very well educated and we may even know that he had problems with her over religion and almost had her imprisoned but that in the end he died with her as his queen. But who cares! When Mathew Shardlake is called to court to help locate a compromising book written by the Queen (without Henry's knowledge) called "Lamentations of a Sinner" that has been stolen...we get on his horse "Genesis" with him and go there...at full gallop!

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Worth the wait, and highly recommended.

As always with C. J. Sansom's Shardlake series I anxiously awaited this books release. It is well worth the wait, and it seems to me that the series just keeps getting better. I feel very invested in the characters at this point . So watching Shardlake and his household navigate one of the most fraught periods of Henry VIII's reign was fascinating. As usual Sansom's knowledge about the very complicated political and religious landscape shows through, as the fictional characters dance effortlessly with the real actors in the last days of one of histories most infamous kings. I happily give this 5 stars.

Steven Crossley is fast becoming one of my favorite narrators.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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GREAT HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES

This is the 5th book in the series I've listened to. Well researched and masterfully narrated. I look forward to future books like this from CJ Sansome. A big thumbs up!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding.

I was so excited to finally see Lamentations available on Audible, and it did not disappoint. If you haven't yet read any of the Shardlake series, an amazing mystery series set in Tudor times, start with the first, Dissolution. If you're already a fan and wondering whether the latest is as good as the others in the series: Yes! In fact, this one may be my favorite so far. Shardlake once again is called to aid Katherine Parr against the advice of his friends and confederates. The matter is so secret that even when he needs their help, he cannot tell them why. The book opens with the chilling account of the burning of Anne Askew, setting the stage for just how dangerous it was in Henry's London to voice heretical opinions. Sansom brings once again a brilliant and plausible interweaving of a fictional plot with historical events; memorable characters; edge-of-your-seat suspense; and details describing Tudor London that brings it vividly to life; Crossley does it full justice as narrator and the voice of Matthew Shardlake.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Love Matthew!

Crime novel and historical fiction, my two favorites. CJ Sansom is a master at interweaving them!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another well researched Tudor political thriller

While you're watching this well crafted origami of a "who done it/who has it/where is it" unfold appreciate that you can't be racked, burned, etc. for political & religious dissent anymore.

Don't skip the supporting historical notes at the end. It's fun to know how well this whole thing could fit into what's really known about the time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 09-21-15

Plot twists ahead...

As a devoted Shardlake fan, Lamentation served up some twists and turns I totally failed to see coming. The character development deepened and I felt like Matthew was more human, more vulnerable in this novel than he has been previously.

This is a can't-miss series for readers/listeners who want detailed, historical fiction. Five stars all the way.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • VerusX
  • Tucson, AZ, United States
  • 07-01-15

Best yet

The breath and depth of these mysteries is very impressive. Combine that with the character growth, excellent writing and story telling.

This volume has an incident that effected me more than any I can ever recall reading, you know if you read the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enjoy it best of the series. .

I was kept guessing and I appreciate that in any mystery but I am in awe when it is able to follow history so closely

1 of 1 people found this review helpful