1ST ENCOUNTER – PAPER READ: Not quite
as good as the first Matthew Shardlake story, nevertheless a good tale with full attention paid to historical detail.
2ND ENCOUNTER – BBC radio dramatisation:
R4 in ten episodes HUZZAH!
BBC description: Gripping dramatisation of C. J. Sansom’s atmospheric Tudor crime novel set during the last days of Thomas Cromwell.
London, 1540, hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake has lived quietly in the three years since he was asked by Cromwell to investigate a murder at Scarnsea monastery on England’s south coast (a story told in “Dissolution”). But his quiet life is soon forgotten as he rushes to solve two very different but urgent mysteries: save the life of a young girl accused of a terrible murder; and, discover who has stolen the last precious batch of Greek Fire, a mythical weapon of mass destruction.
Accompanied by Cromwell’s man – the young and impetuous Barak – Shardlake desperately searches for clues against the backdrop of a hot and stinking London summer.
A fast and furious crime drama, “Dark Fire” features ethical dilemmas, intriguing characters and a luminous historical setting. Starring Justin Salinger as Shardlake, Bryan Dick as Barak and Robert Glenister as Thomas Cromwell.
Written by C. J. Sansom
Dramatised by Colin MacDonald
Produced and directed by Kirsteen Cameron
1/10 Dramatisation of CJ Sansom’s Tudor crime novel, featuring lawyer detective hero Shardlake
2/10 Thomas Cromwell summons Shardlake, and engages him to undertake a deadly secret mission.
3/10 The search for the stolen Greek Fire intensifies as Shardlake questions the key suspects.
4/10 Shardlake and Barak’s investigation leads them to the ruins of St Bartholew’s monastery.
5/10 Shardlake focuses on helping Elizabeth Wentworth, accused of murdering her young cousin.
6/10 Whoever is behind the Greek Fire theft will do anything to keep it from the Earl of Essex.
7/10 With Shardlake’s lack of progress, Cromwell reveals that he fears losing the King’s favour
8/10 Trapped inside the burning house, Shardlake witnesses the destructive power of Greek Fire.
9/10 Shardlake and Barak finally discover who lies behind the plot to bring down Cromwell.
10/10 Held at knifepoint, can Shardlake and Barak escape to warn the Earl about the plot?
Of course it was lovely to revisit via radio but I have to say, there ain’t nothing better than curling up with this series in its full paper glory. The Shardlake books are my favourite hist-fic, hands down.
5* Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake, #1)
4* Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake, #2)
5* Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake, #3)
5* Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
4* Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake, #5)
TR Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)
5* Winter in Madrid
3* The Lost Prophecies (The Medieval Murderers, #4)