Now i always get concerned when the front of a book says "you'll not be able to put it down" as it doesn't always represent how good the book actually is. In this case though i have to say this is one of the best books i have read in quite a while. I came to these stories completely fresh, i didn't even realise that it was part of a series!
The premise of the book is that Matthew Shardlake is a lawyer during the reign of Henry VIII and that he sorts out various cases that take him around certain parts of England. He is asked by Thomas Cranmer to guard a prisoner who has been involved in a rebellion and bring him back from York to London for his torture. At the same time as this the King's progress is moving to York. Henry is travelling with his new wife Catherine Howard but things are not quite as they seem and the smell of rebellion is in the air. I will leave the rest of the story for anyone who wants to read the book. I read the book as an historical novel but everything I read now implies that these books are detective novels. If you like historical detective novels then I think you would like this story.
I studied this period of history for my degree and thought that the author managed to convey the period really well in his descriptions of York and Hull. The characters in the book I found to be really well written, some were real historical figures which were portrayed in the light that i expected. The fictional characters in the book fitted in well and had lots of depth to them.
I think that the story flowed really well and I did indeed find it hard to put down. The other thing that made me realise that I enjoyed it was that I didn't skip any sections, you know sometimes in a book you want to skip the dull bits and get to the action, well this didn't happen once. This story is the third in the Matthew Shardlake series, there are now 5 books altogether, I haven't read any of the other books but certainly think I would give them ago. I also found that it did not matter that I had not read the first two books, the characters were easy to pick up and although the other books were mentioned they did not stop you enjoying this one.
A paperback copy of this book is available for £3.51 from amazon