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Quantity Add to basket. This item has been added to your basket View basket Checkout. Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. View other formats and editions. Synopsis Author. Historical crime fiction is sometimes little more than a modern adventure in fancy dress. Not so the novels of C. Dark Fire is a creation of real brilliance.
Sansom's vivid portrayal of squalid, stinking, bustling London; the city's wealth and poverty; the brutality and righteousness of religious persecution; and the complexities of English law make this a suspenseful, colourful and compelling tale. But it is Shardlake himself who steals the show. His honesty and humility shine out in a dark world where murder and mayhem are the order of the day. Sansom British author C. Visit the C. Sansom author page. Added to basket. The President is Missing. President Bill Clinton. The October Man. Ben Aaronovitch. Smoke and Ashes. Abir Mukherjee. I Looked Away.
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Kate Morton. Big Sky. Kate Atkinson. Susan Hill. Jo Nesbo. Kudos to C. I thought this book was even better than his first one. View all 16 comments. Jan 21, Sean Barrs the Bookdragon rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery-crime-and-thrillers , 4-star-reads , historical. He is really aware of himself and those around him. Sometimes his rage at the narrow minded injustice he is subjected to is ready to spill over, though he controls it.
He uses his scholar like mind to rise above his enemies. Cromwell has granted him an assistant for this mission; he needs him too because this is dangerous work. Jack Barrak is young, rough and tough. Despite their differences, the two achieve wonders together. I love the intertwining of cases; one is no longer enough for Shardlake. Whist preparing a defence for a girl accused of murdering her young cousin, Shardlake receives an ominous summon from his former benefactor: Thomas Cromwell.
Cromwell also has an investigation for him, a more important one. He is tasked with finding the deadly weapon known as Greek fire. Cromwell believes the recovery of such a dark weapon will regain him the favour of Henry VIII after the disastrous Cleaves marriage. Shardlake has no choice but to take on the assignment as he dare not anger the ruthless Lord Chancellor. So, poor Shardlake is thrown into the risky world of Tudor politics. I really pity him. Dark fire or Greek fire, as it is most commonly known, can burn through anything and even remains ablaze on water.
The only problem is the people who were tasked with reproducing it have been murdered, their supply stolen, and the culprits behind it are completely unknown. Shardlake has a very cold trail to follow, one that eventually leads him to grimy places. Handling this is almost too much for him, I think the only reason he manages any form of success is because he knows what would await him should he fail. Cromwell has no mercy. This threat really drives the story to its completion. With two massive investigations on his mind, and exactly nine days to solve them both, he has little time to think beyond there resolution.
His compassion is gripped by the girl who refuses to say a word to the crime she witnessed. Getting her to talk is no easy task, but Shardlake knows that only she has the answers. The intertwining of two separate cases works extraordinarily well. When there is a lull in the investigation of one not that there were many the other picks up.
This results in a plot that rarely slowed down, and a book that is a fantastic instalment in the series. Tudor England was brought to life in these pages.
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Matthew Shardlake Series 1. Dissolution- A suspense filled four stars. Dark Fire- A dark 3. View all 3 comments. Aug 08, PattyMacDotComma rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , mystery-crime-thriller , aa-patty , ebook-clb , kindle. It is not pretty. She passed 4. She passed a hand over her eyes. Do I have to use the nightshade? By expanding your pupils, it makes you look more comely. But perhaps a smaller dose. I had heard of drops of deadly nightshade being used in this way for cosmetic purposes, but it was poisonous stuff.
More later. This takes place in , when Henry the Eighth is chafing under the yoke of another marriage, this to Anne of Cleves, arranged by his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell calls our favourite lawyer of the time, Matthew Shardlake back into harness. Yokes and harnesses. Well, it was a bit like that.
- Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom | Penguin Random House Canada.
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For anyone to survive back then, they needed a protector, and Cromwell was the most powerful in the land after the king. This was like being asked by the Mafia to do them a favour - a request you couldn't refuse. Their enemies attack with crossbows and axes, thinking nothing of whacking off a limb or a head. Each time Shardlake follows a clue, he follows it to a home, a brothel, a shop, only to find the person he's looking for has disappeared or died or both.
I will spare you the stench of the streets and the worse stench of the prison. View all 23 comments. This was a marriage Cromwell encouraged, and then failed to find a way of avoiding when requested by Henry. Or should I say, head — ouch? The conspirators want a sum of money to hand over the Greek Fire and its secret. A charge she will not appeal against and remains silent.
Shardlake is losing the case when an offer of a reprieve of 2 weeks is made by Cromwell if he journeys to the monastery to secure the Greek Fire and make all necessary arrangements. The multiple political, personal and professional forces at play in this story are incredible, and it is pulled off with excellent narrative accomplishment. The story is totally captivating and full of tense threatening moments and competing forces that take politics and espionage to a deadly level. And it just gets more formidable when the two conspirators are found dead.
While the period at the Royal Court is one full of deception, high drama, treachery, intrigue and politics, this is transposed to the background of the case involving Matthew Shardlake and his companion Jack Barak. This makes for a great complementary team and it feels much better balanced than the partnership in the first book - Dissolution.
The case is full of surprises and hurdles to negotiate that takes Shardlake and Barak to be permanently alert and call on all their reserves of resourcefulness. Sansom provides a superb atmosphere for this novel involving sounds, terminology, smells, and dialogue, all of which transports you to that era. The images and language of London are really interesting as we see it during its development to becoming a major city. I would highly recommend this book and it is best read in the correct sequence of the series.
View all 9 comments. Apr 14, Matt rated it really liked it Shelves: equinox-book-challenge , audiobook. Continuing this Tudor-era series, C. Sansom develops the foundation for what many will likely call a great set of historical mysteries. Still jilted after an awkward investigation for Thomas Cromwell, Matthew Shardlake is happy to keep his legal practice running with a handful of clients. However, when he is approached to defend Elizabeth Wentworth, Shardlake is not entirely sure he wants the case.
Wentworth is accused of killing her cousin by pushing him down a well, but will not enter a plea Continuing this Tudor-era series, C. Wentworth is accused of killing her cousin by pushing him down a well, but will not enter a plea. Rather, she stands silent, even when brought before the court. With a torturous punishment for not entering a plea awaiting her, Shardlake tries to get Elizabeth Wentworth to at least utter two words, to no avail.
In a miraculous turn of events, the case reprieved temporarily by Thomas Cromwell himself, who seeks the assistance of his great investigator. Shardlake is sent to retrieve the instructions to make this weapon, so that it might be presented to Henry VIII after he sees its public display in the coming weeks. Hesitantly, Shardlake agrees to act as emissary and makes his way to the countryside, where he discovers that the two brothers in possession of the Greek fire have been killed and their weapon is gone. What should have been a quick turn of events has since opened into a cataclysmic panic.
While Shardlake and his newly assigned deputy scour the communities to locate not only the killer but this volatile weapon, his actual case takes on some interesting twists. From investigator to target, Shardlake must dodge an unknown killer and their wrath while keeping the knowledge of Greek fire a secret from the general population. Even as things come to a head, major news comes from Court, something that could change England forever and leave many scrambling for cover.
Sansom delivers another winner in this complex-thriller that never loses its momentum. Lovers of Tudor history and mysteries will likely want to add this to their collection.
This is sure to be a wonderful series in the making, though it is a deeper and more intricate type mystery than I am used to reading. Steeped in history and developments of the time, C. Sansom educates as he entertains with a narrative that is full of nuances. The story really kept my attention and I hoped to learn a lot more about Matthew Shardlake. The man may be simple in his desires, but Shardlake is far from basic in his presentation throughout the novel. Humbled by his hunchback, Shardlake is forced to deflect many who feel he could never make a name for himself, let alone be a successful solicitor.
His attention to detail when it comes to the law is one thing, but Shardlake is happy to see many things that others miss when it comes to investigating, which creates a stronger and more complex narrative for the reader. One can presume that he is irritated at being constantly sought after by Thomas Cromwell, but there is surely a reason for this. I can only hope that future adventures for Matthew Shardlake will be as detail oriented, as I am looking forward to learning much about the man and his development.
There are others whose presence throughout help enrich the story and keeps Shardlake from running away with the show. Sansom has a wonderful way of weaving his characters into a curious tapestry and will not simply allow for minor appearances. The novel is strong and well-paced, set against English history during a time when nothing stayed the same for long.
Henry VIII is processing the demise of his fourth and trying to find a fifth wife, which proves to be an interesting backdrop for Tudor fans who are committed to this novel. Sansom captures these intricacies while offering a stellar mystery to keep the reader enthralled. I am eager that I gave the series another chance and want to find out where Sansom sees the story and his protagonist going in the next handful of novels. Kudos, Mr.
Sansom, for a wonderful continuation to the series. I have so much I want to learn and you keep me entertained throughout. View 2 comments. Apr 09, Emma rated it it was amazing Shelves: medieval , re-read. Another case for Matthew Shardlake.. In paranoid times, England has no allies in Europe; where once reformist fervour swept the nation, and not so long ago, the tides have turned and against Lord Cromwell.
Political chaos is the order of the day where intrigue and plots abound and where no-one can be trusted. CJ Sansom really knows how to conjure up the sights, sounds and smells of the largely lawless, sewage-saturated streets of Tudor London. The bear-baiting, the violence, the boiled head on spikes on London Bridge In this story, I particularly liked the developing relationship between Shardlake and Barak, his and Cromwell's assistant: namely the way he calls everyone he doesn't like an 'arsehole'!
And once again, the discordant twang of heart strings snapping for poor Matthew! Excellent read. This is the second Shardlake novel, following on from Dissolution. Shardlake finds himself embroiled in a complicated case, when a young girl called Elizabeth Wentworth is arrested for murder. Her family, apart from her Uncle Joseph, all believe her guilty of the crime — killing her cousin Ralph, the only son of her Uncle Edwin, whose London house she was living in. However, Elizabeth refuses to plead, which means she faces the Press which was as bad as it sounds and has been thrown into the H This is the second Shardlake novel, following on from Dissolution.
Dark Fire by Chris d'Lacey | Scholastic
However, Elizabeth refuses to plead, which means she faces the Press which was as bad as it sounds and has been thrown into the Hole as unpleasant as it sounds in Newgate. Shardlake is convinced of her innocence, but seems destined to fail in his endeavour to save her until, suddenly, he is offered a reprieve. Two weeks to investigate, as long as he carries out a little job for Cromwell An ancient weapon, little more than a myth, Greek Fire, has been found in a former monastery.
The men who have this strange substance, capable of burning a ship in moments, want money to release the weapon to Cromwell. He sends Shardlake to speak to them and make arrangements, but when he arrives the would be conspirators have been murdered. Cromwell has promised King Henry an exhibition of Greek Fire in two weeks time, which leaves Shardlake two investigations to solve in only a few days. London in is awash with rumours about King Henry; said to be about to put aside Anne of Cleves — a disastrous marriage he blames solely on Cromwell — and to marry the young Catherine Howard.
Unwillingly thrust again into politics and danger, Shardlake does his best, while his clients desert him, he is attacked, threatened and seems to be making enemies in high places. Jack Barak is a much more suitable sidekick than the young Mark Poer, who accompanied Shardlake in Dissolution. He adds swagger and danger to the storyline; brave, loyal and always willing to take a risk. With Shardlake suffering slights because of his hunchback, his friend the physician Guy first seen in Dissolution gaped at because of his dark skin and Jack Barak threatened due to his Jewish heritage, we see Tudor London not only through the politics of power, but through the eyes of outcasts.
This is a sublime series and Shardlake a brilliant fictional creation. The next book in the series is Sovereign and, if possible, try to read the series from the beginning as it is wonderful to see how the characters develop over time. View all 15 comments. Jan 05, Phrynne rated it it was amazing. Another excellent read in this fantastic series.
I thought I was getting a bit bored with historical fiction but there was nothing boring about Dark Fire. Matthew Shardlake is such an interesting main character and he manages to gain a new assistant in this book who suits him admirably. Not one but two mysteries running parallel kept the pace of the story going and I found the historical detail to be just right - not too little or too much. Now to find the time to read the next one. I do love a Another excellent read in this fantastic series.
I do love a good series View all 13 comments. Continual suspense Matthew Shardlake has put the nerve-wracking episode of his investigations at Scarnsea Monastery behind him and is living the relatively quiet life of a London lawyer of the Tudor era. Suddenly, his peace is shattered. He is asked to defend a young lady who is accused of murdering her cousin, but refuses to speak to anyone, even Shardlake. A difficult task, and even more stressful because failing to plea when brought to court in those days resulted in a slow and agonising death Continual suspense Matthew Shardlake has put the nerve-wracking episode of his investigations at Scarnsea Monastery behind him and is living the relatively quiet life of a London lawyer of the Tudor era.
It is a very dangerous assignment, made even more so because it is so difficult to work out whom he can trust. Wisely, he decides to trust no-one. There is suspense throughout this book, and more than a few close scrapes. I really enjoyed it. Dec 09, Samantha rated it it was amazing Shelves: more-historical-than-fiction , british-history , own-it , seriously-read-this , mysterious , tudors.
I loved this sequel even more than the first book in the series! The author's credentials as a lawyer with a PhD in history are evident in the complex, finely written story that he creates around Tudor era lawyer, Matthew Shardlake. There is really no part of this book that I can disparage.
The characters are multifaceted and realistic. I adore Matthew - he is clever and righteous but also insecure and modest. In this novel he is paired up perfectly with Jack Barak, who is young, courageous, and I loved this sequel even more than the first book in the series! In this novel he is paired up perfectly with Jack Barak, who is young, courageous, and loyal. The two of them make a wonderful team, and Matthew is able to get over the loss of his assistant Mark. Sansom does a marvelous job of creating the sights, scents, attitudes, and lifestyles of Tudor England without ever making the reader feel that they are trudging through an information dump.
Making use of what may be the best use of first person narrative I have read, he places the reader inside Matthew's thoughts and circumstances. How disappointed I was to glance up from the page and be reminded that I was not truly traipsing through 16th century London. Once again the mysteries - and there are a few in this installment - were secondary to the characters and setting in my mind. That does not mean that they were any less expertly done. Shardlake is immersed in two major cases: one that he accepts because he believes in the accused's innocence when nobody else does and the other because Cromwell leaves him no choice.
Both storylines keep the reader on the edge of their seat until the very end, and little is as it originally appears. My only disappointment was that when I finished this book, I realized that the next Shardlake episode, Sovereign, was not on my shelf. No worries.