Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Matthew Shardlake Series by C. J. Sansom


I started reading this series simply because they were on the “you should read it” shelf at the library, and I was between books. These books are award-winning, international best-sellers, so I wasn't surprised to find the writing good and the stories engaging. Sansom spends a lot of time on description, and while some people get sidetracked by too much detail, I found myself completely immersed in Tudor England. I wasn't looking for a dev-read, so imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered the main character has a disability.

From Wikipedia: "This series set in the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century, whose main character is the hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake, who is assisted in his adventures by Mark Poer and then Jack Barak. Shardlake works on commission initially from Thomas Cromwell in Dissolution and Dark Fire, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in Sovereign and Revelation and Queen Catherine Parr in Heartstone. "

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and mystery novels, and this series is the best of both genres.

I enjoyed the first book so much, I immediately went back and scooped up the other four (there are five of them so far). Matthew is a tremendously sympathetic character. He's smart, he's attractive, he's the good guy... AND... he's disabled. It's too much to ask for a realistic historical novel to feature a guy with SCI, so Kyphosis is a reasonable mobility impairment- but surprisingly, it absolutely tweaked my dev-o-meter.

My only problem with this series, and it's a big problem, is Matthew never gets the girl. I'm hoping for more in future books (I'm hoping for future books, period); but even without sex- or even a romantic relationship for Matthew, the series is definitely on my "most recommended" list.

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