An excellent conclusion to the Shardlake series
This is the final book of the series following Matthew Shardlake’s adventures and it is no coincidence that it carries the same name as the final book of the New Testament. The intrepid lawyer’s main mission, for, as usual, he has several, is to track down a serial killer who bases his trail of horror on events that are described in biblical version.
I warn you that there are some stomach-churning descriptions within this book. One of the lesser pictures that Sansom conjures up early on is that of early dentures, made from wood and mounted with real, human teeth. Yeuch!
Shardlake is also trying to help a teenage boy who is incarcerated in the infamous “hospital for the mentally ill”: Bedlam. He also has to cope with the declining marriage of his assistant, Barak, and the lady for whom he’d fallen in “Sovereign”, Tamasin.
Once again, this is a dangerous mission for our hunch-backed hero. And, as in previous adventures, there are very few people whom he can trust. Because the villain is following a defined pattern, there is a small element of predictability, but this is skilfully used by the author to raise the level of tension to almost unbearable levels. Knowing roughly what is going to happen, but not how it is going to happen is excruciating!
Whether you are a fan of historical fiction, or a fan of crime mysteries and thrillers, I would recommend that you read your way through this series from beginning to end. Of course, if you are a fan of both genres, you are already on your way to the bookstore or library.