As Henry VIII lies on his deathbed, an incendiary manuscript threatens to tear his court apart in the new installment of C. J. Sansom s Shardlake series.
Autumn, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors prepare for a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government. The Catholics decide to focus their attack on Henry s sixth wife, the Protestant Queen Catherine Parr. As Catherine begins to lose the king s favor, she turns to the shrewd, hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake to contain a potentially fatal secret.
The queen has written a confessional book, "Lamentation of a Sinner, " a memoir so radical that if it came to the king s attention, it could bring her and her courtly sympathizers to ruination. The London printer into whose hands she entrusted the manuscript has been murdered, the book nowhere to be found.
Shardlake s investigations take him down a trail that begins among printshops in the filthy backstreets of London but leads him once more to the labyrinthine world of court politics, where Protestant friends can be as dangerous as Catholic enemies and those who will support either side to further their ambition are the most dangerous of all."