DATE PUBLISHED: 2008 DATE READ: November 2008 NOTES: Another Matthew Shardlake novel this time set in 1543. The times are turbulent. Catherine Howard has been executed and Henry VIII is turning away from radical Protestantism but still wants no links with Rome. Different religious factions vie for supremacy and few people can feel completely safe. Although the bible is now translated into English laws are being passed to prevent women and the lower classes from reading it. Into this heady mix comes a serial killer who seems to be selecting his victims among people who have rejected radical Protestantism and killing them in accordance with the atrocities listed in Revelations. Believing there could be a link to Catherine Parr (who Henry is hoping to marry) Archbishop Cranmer enlists Matthew Shardlake to help find the killer without letting the general public (or the king) know what is afoot. This book is the usual great fun read that we have come to expect from the series. The characters from the earlier books (Jack Barak, Guy Malton and Bealnap) continue to be well developed. Matthew is a great central character – thoughtful, wise and kind to others. The religious and political problems of the times are described in a way that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the narrative. Of course, at the end everything is resolved. Catherine Parr marries Henry and seems to have a calming influence on him. Cranmer feels he is once again secure in his situation….but we know what happens to him when Mary comes to the throne.