review by showhost May 2015
Another brilliant book by this author and again another book set in Tudor England with that wonderful character, Shardlake, the crookback lawyer and his assistant Jack Barak and Guy.
We are still in the reign of Henry 8th and he is now married to his last wife Catherine Parr. Henry and England are once more at war with France, the English Fleet are gathering in Portsmouth. . The country is being hit by high taxes to pay for the Kings army & navy. Foreigners are eyed with suspicion as potential French spies, and the court of Henry 8th is as dangerous a place as ever.
Matthew Shardlake is once again asked to help the Queen or rather an old servant of the queen.
The wrong doing was with the Kings Court of Wards. This was a scheme set up by King Henry to extract money by preying on children who had become parentless but inherited land and/or money. Wards were supposed to protect the inheritance until the children were old enough to take it on. The case took him to Portsmouth close to the imminently invading French fleet. The case involved the family of sir Nicholas Hobbey, a wealthy landowner, and unravelled many mysteries murder and wrongdoings.
As often with Shardlake, there was another case to solve, that of a woman who had been falsely imprisoned in Bedlam for 19 years. Her family had originated from near the Hobbey family and the events that destroyed her family link to an old enemy in the court of Henry 8th. Jack Barak, Shardlakes assistant, travels to Portsmouth with him, much against his wishes as he would like to be at home in London with his preganant wife but an altercation with a recruiting sergeant for Henrys army means that if he doesn’t go he will be recruited.
Stonking good medieval murder mystery.