3 for 2
I mentioned yesterday that I went on a bit of a book-buying mission. These are what I got in Waterstone's 3 for 2 section. I didn't plan it, but I now realise that there are links between the three -- two are set in the 16th Century, and two are whodunits.
I've already read C.J. Sansom's two previous offerings in his Shardlake series (Dissolution and Dark Fire) and enjoyed them thoroughly. Sovereign is once again set in Tudor England, and this time lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his trusty sidekick Jack Barak are in York, processing petitions to be made to Henry VIII and involved in a mission for Archbishop Cranmer. It isn't long before a murder happens.
I've heard great things of Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games, and I'm looking forwarding to assessing the hype for myself. This is the other whodunit of the three, this time centering around the life of detective Sartaj Singh and the criminal underworld of Mumbai. One quote in the promotional blurb reads: 'A book about violence, greed, yachts, mafia yogis, nuclear bombs, Partition and Miss India competitions ... Both riveting and brilliantly vile.'
I've never heard of Tim Willocks, but The Religion took my fancy because of its theme, which involves the 16th Century conflict between Islam and Christianity and specifically between Suleiman the Magnificent and the Knights of St John in Malta, which came to a head with the Turkish blockade and siege of the island. The one thing that puts me off a bit is the fact that this grand theme is played out from the viewpoint of a 'human interest' sub-plot which sounds rather unconvincing. We shall see.
What I can't decide is whether to read the two whodunits in succession or the two set in the 16th Century. One decision already made, though, is that I've begun the trio with Sovereign. It's got off to a promising start. The author certainly wastes no time, with the murder happening after a mere 70 pages.