Shardlake series

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Shardlake series

AuthorC. J. Sansom
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreHistorical mystery
PublisherMacmillan Publishers
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book

The Shardlake series is a series of historical mystery novels by C. J. Sansom set in the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century.

Sansom has said that he plans to write further Shardlake novels taking the lawyer into the reign of Elizabeth I.[1]


The series' protagonist is the hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake, who is assisted in his adventures by Mark Poer and then Jack Barak. Shardlake works on commission initially from Thomas Cromwell in Dissolution and Dark Fire, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in Sovereign and Revelation and Queen Catherine Parr in Heartstone and Lamentation. The seventh book, Tombland, was published in October 2018. [2]


Matthew Shardlake series
Title Year Publisher ISBN Awards
Dissolution 2003 London:Macmillan 1-4050-0542-4 Nominated for the 2003 Crime Writers' Association (CWA) John Creasey Memorial Dagger, for first books by previously unpublished writers. It was also nominated for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger in the same year.[3]
Dark Fire 2004 London:Macmillan 1-4050-0544-0 Awarded the Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Historical Dagger award in 2005.[4]
Sovereign 2006 London:Macmillan 0-3304-3608-2  
Revelation 2008 London:Macmillan 0-3304-4710-6 Shortlisted for the Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year 2009[5] and the Crime Writers Association Ellis Peters Historical Dagger in 2008.[6]
Heartstone 2010 London:Mantle 1-4050-9273-4 Shortlisted for the 2011 Walter Scott Prize[7]


2014 London:Mantle 978-1447260257  


2018 London:Mantle 978-1-4472-8449-9



In 2007 the BBC commissioned an adaptation of Dissolution with Kenneth Branagh set to star as Shardlake.[8] Branagh chose instead to star as the eponymous protagonist in the BBC series Wallander.[9]


BBC Radio 4 has adapted novels in the Shardlake series as part of its 15-Minute Drama series. In 2012, Dissolution was adapted into a 10-part radio serial by Colin MacDonald, starring Jason Watkins as Shardlake and Mark Bonnar as Cromwell.[10][11] BBC Radio 4 later broadcast Dark Fire in 2014, with Justin Salinger taking over the role of Shardlake and Bryan Dick playing Barak, Sovereign in 2015, Revelation in 2017 and Heartstone in 2018, all adapted by Colin MacDonald as 10-part serials.


  1. ^ Shardlake page from C..J. Sansom's Official Site
  2. ^
  3. ^ 2003 CWA Dagger Awards Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ CJ Sansom wins with Dark Fire Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine – CWA announcement of the award.
  5. ^ Flood, Alison (10 March 2009). "Obama battles vampires for Galaxy prize". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  6. ^ "CWA Shortlist". Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Walter Scott historical fiction shortlist announced". BBC news. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 12 Jun 2011.
  8. ^ Dowell, Ben; Thorpe, Vanessa (18 November 2007). "Branagh to play Tudor sleuth". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "News Archive: January 2008 - June 2008". The Kenneth Branagh Compendium. Retrieved 8 January 2018. So, the new news is that Matthew Shardlake, and the announced BBC filming of Dissolution, will be left lurking back in the 16th century for the moment, while a more contemporary Swedish detective is brought to BBC screens. Kenneth Branagh will become Kurt Wallander for a BBC series tentatively titled Wallander.
  10. ^ BBC Radio 4: Episode Guide: Dissolution
  11. ^ Radio Times Episode Guide: Dissolution

External links[edit]