MLA Platinum Award Press Release

BookBrowse Reviews Revelation by C.J. Sansom

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Revelation

by C.J. Sansom

Revelation by C.J. Sansom X
Revelation by C.J. Sansom
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 560 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2010, 560 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


For enthusiasts of both mysteries or historical fiction, Revelation is a fascinating read and a welcome installment in the absorbing Shardlake series

C.J. Sansom's latest installment of the Matthew Shardlake series takes readers once again to the streets of Tudor England. In Revelation, hunchbacked Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and detective, has been called to represent mad Adam Kite, a young man who cannot stop praying. In this world of religious volatility, where Catholics and Protestants vie for superiority, religious conspicuousness is inadvisable. Young Kite's madness has gained too much attention, and he has been confined to the Bedlam, the keeping place for the insane in Tudor London. At the same time, a religious fanatic is on the loose, killing people around London. Matthew is drawn deep into the religious chaos threatening the peace of the city -- chaos that may or may not involve the disturbed Adam Kite.

Against this perfectly created historical backdrop, the hunchbacked Matthew Shardlake investigates the strange events surrounding the murders and Adam Kite. While the language and pacing of the novel reflect the slower way of life during the Tudor Age, the steady unraveling of the clues creates a gripping mystery, and the final chapters provide a superb and gratifying resolution.

If you are unfamiliar with Matthew Shardlake and his Sherlockian escapades, don’t feel that you must start at the beginning of the series to enjoy this story. Revelation is perfectly accessible as a stand-alone novel. Though Sansom doesn’t provide much of Matthew's personal history or how he's connected to the people in his employ, there's enough information for the reader to gain a foothold and dive into the plot -- and that's a great thing because the plot is nuanced, intelligent, and surprising.

Sansom's clever mystery is a perfect example of historical fiction, plunging the reader headfirst into the Tudor period. Every element -- dress, diction, setting, beliefs and behavior -- is rendered with historic accuracy. Interesting details, like facts about medical procedures, and the practice amongst the wealthy of wearing complete sets of other people's teeth, round out the reading experience. This novel is clearly well researched, yet the facts are never overplayed; the historical elements are woven seamlessly into the fabric of the narrative.

Many books have come out in recent years set during the Tudor period, most of which position the royal family and courtiers at the center of their narratives. In these novels, the middle and lower classes are merely part of the scenery. Revelation provides relief in its reversal of these themes and subjects. The royal family and the meddling courtiers play some role in the novel, but the primary characters live normal lives far from the drama at court, and their response to court life provides an interesting perspective. Readers familiar with the Tudor period as a time of opulence and romance will be fascinated by Sansom's other view, one that investigates the tumult and uncertainty of this early modern period.

For enthusiasts of mysteries or historical fiction, Revelation is a fascinating read and a welcome installment in this absorbing series.

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in February 2009, and has been updated for the March 2010 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: In the Dream House
    In the Dream House
    by Carmen Maria Machado
    In the introduction to In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado (a National Book Award finalist for ...
  • Book Jacket: Father of Lions
    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan
    Our readers have given high marks to Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan. Out of 21 reviewers, 18 ...
  • Book Jacket
    Girl, Woman, Other
    by Bernardine Evaristo
    As we meet Amma, a 50-something playwright finally experiencing mainstream success in Bernardine ...
  • Book Jacket: The Revisioners
    The Revisioners
    by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
    The chapters of Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's second novel, The Revisioners, alternate between three ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins
    by Katarina Bivald

    A heartwarming story of love, friendship, and the art of living.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan

    A true-to-life narrative of one man's remarkable quest to save the Mosul Zoo.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Adventurer's Son

Publishing Soon!
The Adventurer's Son

"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out."
--Jon Krakauer

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.