HEARTSTONE, by C. J. Sansom

5/series set in Tudor England. Few people today realize that France nearly invaded England at this time, and well might have succeeded given the perilous state of the country, its bankrupt economy and sullen, resentful population. When lawyer Matthew Shardlake visits Bedlam for clients religiously-obsessed son (a burn at the stake offense). An inmate, Alice, appears "normal" but seems to be afraid to leave the building. Bedlam is expensive. What put her there and who pays for it?  As the vicious battle between religious factions swirls around Henry VIIIs court, the ailing, licentious king is pulled in various directions, but still pursues his ruinous, futile war with the French. Click below for more...
Matthew goes to Portsmouth where the British fleet gathers. He investigates a custody case, finding a family at odds for no apparent reason. In a nearby village, he begins to learn the blood-chilling reason why Alice is in Bedlam. In Portsmouth, he is aboard the Mary Rose when tragedy strikes. The lawyer with nine lives escapes his peril but finds even more to fear. As always, meticulously researched, carrying the flavor not only of the times but the emotions of the people. Superb series. A five.
Find the author at www.cjsansom.com
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