Dissolution by C. J. Sansom


Dissolution is the first of C. J. Sansom’s historical crime novels.  Set in 1537, Thomas Cromwell is doing his bit for the English Reformation by closing down papist institutions on the orders of King Henry VIII.  One of Cromwell’s commissioners is sent to the remote Scarnsea Monastery where he comes to a grisly end.  Enter Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and reformation enthusiast.  Shardlake is dispatched to Scarnsea to find out what happened to his predecessor and to ensure that Scarnsea is dissolved once and for all.

I have to say that I absolutely loved this book.  I am a fan of crime fiction but generally avoid historical fiction so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  As someone whose knowledge of English history is patchy at best, I was absorbed in this story from start to finish.  The pacing is brilliant, the cast of characters intriguing and the protagonist extremely believable.  The author must have undertaken a huge amount of research before writing this book but I never felt as if I’d wandered into a history book.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the research is incorporated so seamlessly – I really felt like I was there.  The writing is beautiful and I would have no hesitation in recommending this book.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

14 thoughts on “Dissolution by C. J. Sansom

  1. This really piqued my interest! I love both historical fiction and mysteries. I’m actually getting ready to start Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series about Cromwell, so when I finish, I might give this one a try if I’m still in the mood for that time period!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched the television show about three months ago and really loved it!

    That made me want to read the books, but then I realized Mantel wrote A Place of Greater Safety, which I’ve been meaning to read for nearly 4 years, ever since I took a class on the French Revolution and the professor highly recommended it to me. I decided to knock that off my to-read list before moving on to her stuff about Cromwell (and also secretly was hoping she’d make some progress on the third book in that trilogy while I was at it! That may have been overly optimistic of me, though.)

    So far, I’m really enjoying A Place of Greater Safety, so I’m looking forward to the Wolf Hall series even more than I already was.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recommend it–it’s really good! The first bit about their childhoods is not uninteresting, but it’s a touch slow. Once they’re adults, though, it picks up nicely and becomes really engrossing. I think she does a great job of humanizing her famous characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hyperventilated like crazy when I saw this in my feed. I LOVE C.J. SANSOM SO MUCH, this series is the BEST historical fiction series ever in my opinion, it’s so detailed and pondered and intelligent (written by a real historian, too!)… Glad you enjoyed it too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Books of the Year 2016 – Part 1 | Ballyroan Reads

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