Slowly but surely, Shardlake will take over the world…

Last summer I attended a lovely, small, friendly festival with my very good friend Rhi, who shares my fetish for historical romance and chocolate flavoured stout and is therefore an excellent companion whilst journeying into the wilds of deepest Skipton…and also a good judge of if I will like a book or not!
Nursing our post-Friday hangovers in the blue sparkly Tea stall, our eyes were immediately drawn to the tiny little bookshelf next to the display of brownies (cake, tea, books and a hangover, what more could a girl ask for in the sunshine?). I was chuffed to bits to have access to a shelf (I fancy shelving systems, it comes with the librarian-thing!) and immediately set to cataloguing them in my mind, when I was interrupted by the noise of Rhi jumping up and down very loudly whilst screaming THEY’VE GOT THE FIRST SHARKDLAKE BOOK!

This was my introduction into the twisted, gritty world of the Tudor lawyer/commissioner/detective, Matthew Shardlake. It turns out that Rhi had read the third Shardlake book (Sovereign), from the series of (so far) four, on the recommendation of a friend , and had loved it, but had not thought to read the others. The discovery in the tea stall that day of the first in the series by C J Samson, Dissolution, re-ignited the fire the will be familiar with anyone who has ever read a book form a series and immediately had to read the rest, now, this second, nothing else possibly matters…all you Twihards put you’re hands up…and down again…and bow your heads in shame…that’s better, know you’re place you philistines, it’s badly written vaguely misogynistic tripe and you know it. Ahem, sorry, must stops these rantings.

So ANYWAY, Rhi lent me the third book in the series as soon as we returned home (because, of course, after reading the blurb of the first one I had to discover these novels immediately, Tudor politics? Murder? Authentic period voice and easily identifiable characters from history? Yes please!) and I was just as hooked as she was. Then set in me what I will call Shardlake Fever, I could not wait to borrow the books! I needed to posses them, they needed to by mine! And, what was that you said? Amazon has three of them for £14.99? I because of my amazing job I don’t pay postage (being a librarian has its uses sometimes…) I don’t care if its a week till payday, bring out the credit card, they must be mine.

I spent literally the next week reading them, when I wasn’t reading them, I was googling them, texting Rhi repeatedly about how much I loved them, and trying to get OTHER people to read them, purely so I could find more people to text! I haven’t felt like this since The Earth’s Children was still good, I swear down!

Finally, through the medium of our lovely book club, I forced two of my precious books onto the girls. And today I received confirmation that Shardlake Fever is real, and is catching…N has bought the set! Whoop whoop its the sound of C J Samson’s profile going up up up!

I cannot recommend these books highly enough, but you will loose hours of your life to them, and will be very upset in an almost clucking like way when you run out of them. The timeline so far runs from just after the death of Anne Bolyn (or Nan Bullen as the plebs like to call her) to the Ascension of Catherine Parr to the throne so its that little bit of Tudor history that hasn’t been bled dry yet, and it is about the common people, and the politics behind the throne, rather than the throne itself, sop the characters are fresh, and funny. Its also got BBC costume drama written all over it so, grab yourself another debt, lets all end this recession sooner, if only for the Beeb to lift its costume drama ban and get this thing on our screens!

Read them! Love them! And join me in wishing next April upon us sooner so that we can read the next one!

Happy reading book lovers…and apologise as also for the over use of the word immediatly! Exopansion of vocabulary coming soon I promise!



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