Dissolution is a captivating historical crime novel written by C.J. Sansom. Set in the 16th century during the reign of King Henry VIII, it takes readers on a gripping journey full of mystery, intrigue, and political maneuvering.

The Story

The story is centered around the protagonist, Matthew Shardlake, a hunchbacked lawyer who works as a legal detective. Shardlake is tasked with investigating the murder of a fellow commissioner at the monastery of Scarnsea on the south coast of England.

As Shardlake delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers a complex web of secrets and deceit that implicates powerful figures within the monastery. Alongside his dedicated assistant, Mark Poer, Shardlake navigates through political conspiracies, religious conflicts, and personal challenges to uncover the truth behind the murder.

Awards and Recognition

Dissolution has received critical acclaim and has been recognized by various awards. The novel was awarded the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, which is bestowed upon exceptional works of historical crime fiction. Sansom’s meticulous attention to historical detail and his ability to weave an intricate plot have earned him praise from both readers and critics.


Dissolution brings to life a diverse range of characters that play crucial roles in the unfolding of the story. Some of the notable characters include:

  • Matthew Shardlake: The hunchbacked lawyer and protagonist of the novel. Shardlake’s intelligence and determination make him a formidable investigator.
  • Mark Poer: Shardlake’s trusted assistant, Poer’s unwavering loyalty and resourcefulness prove invaluable during their investigations.
  • Alix Barbery: A young woman with a troubled past who becomes entangled in Shardlake’s pursuit of the truth. Barbery’s character adds depth and complexity to the narrative.
  • Thomas Cromwell: A powerful statesman and advisor to King Henry VIII. Cromwell’s political influence drives the events of the story and poses challenges for Shardlake.

The interactions between these characters and their personal journeys contribute to the rich tapestry of Dissolution, allowing readers to develop a deep connection with the story.


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