Dissolution – C.J. Sansom

As a new season the The Tudors begins, I am reminded of my love of the Shardlake series of historical mysteries by C.J. Sansom. Set in the time of Henry VIII, they revolve around the life of lawyer Matthew Shardlake whose work keeps him in the periphery of the Court. In this first book, he is hired by Thomas Cromwell to facilitate the removal of stubborn monks refusing to leave their monastery. There are four other titles in this series. These are big books, well- researched with complex plots & well-drawn characters that put you right in the dirt, smells, and the political intrigue of 16th century London. (submitted by LL)

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Sun Going Down – Jack Todd

This is a great book of historical fiction set in 1800’s US – from Mississippi to Montana – a family saga about a Mississippi steam boat captain who leaves the river during the Civil War to become a rancher/ prospector in South Dakota/Montana/Nebraska, and his twin sons who grow up to live in the American “wild West”. Great quirky characters and evocative description of the Great Plains landscape and history. (submitted by GA)

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The Last of the Wine – Mary Renault

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that’s had me dashing to the used bookstore to get all an author’s works, but this book did it. It takes place in Ancient Greece and is told in the first-person by Alexias of Athens. Renault’s writing is engrossing, rigorously researched, and feels very true to the spirit of the times and the protagonist (which means that there is little focus on women and a liberal view on love). Similar in character to Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean, I find the feeling in Renault’s work more genuine and better able to transport me to Ancient Greece. This past March, Renault was nominated for the “Lost Booker” award. (submitted by LH)

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