At last a book where I have noted the score! New Years resolution? check! And a good job I did as it was a high one.
I confess that I had already read this book and not being able to lay my hands on my copy decided not to re buy it and therefore not reread it.
I remembered I wasn't too fussed at the time about it. It took me a while to work out which brother was which and I felt at times the book dragged on with the author being overly keen to describe the weather, the marshes, the monastery etc.
What I, and a number of the group really liked was the fact that it was set in the Tudor Court where Henry 8th was King however it wasn't about Henry or his wives. Don't get me wrong I love those type of books (Phillipa Gregory anyone?) and have read several but to read about the dissolution without having to regurgitate the usual Anne Boleyn saga was refreshing.
The characters at times were quite stereotypical - a brother who was interested in boys now theres a surprise. However the main character was a hunch back which we found very unusual. We questioned as to whether a hunch back would have risen to the place Shardlake had to in society but knew very little about that time to as to whether this was unusual or not. In an interview with Sansom that I had found on the internet he commented on how the hunch represented how he carried the weight of finding the killer, the situation he found himself in with Cromwell and the effect of the dissolution on him (I seem to recall he was a catholic who was raised by monks??)
We talked about whether he was attracted/loved Alice or was it just the fact that he had had very little contact with women (wasn't he an orphan?) and Alice was the only woman around and she showed him a little kindness. We also talked about whether she was manipulating him with her kindness and how most of us didn't want Alice and Mark to have survived. Cold hearted that we are!
This was our first trilogy since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and a few of us have bought the Dark Fire which is the second book. Perhaps because we awarded the book an 8.3 with all scores either an 8 or a 9. Highest scorer in a while (yes I remember enough from past books to be able to say that).
Next book is Before I go to Sleep by S J