I’m looking forward to these new books that will be published later this year from two of my favourite authors:
In September Ann Cleeves’ latest book in her Shetland series Thin Air:
A group of old university friends are on holiday in Unst, Shetland’s most northerly island, to celebrate the wedding of one of their friends to a Shetlander. But late on the night of the wedding party one of them, Eleanor, disappears – apparently into thin air.
It’s mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. The next day Eleanor’s best friend Polly receives an email from her saying she’ll never be found alive. And so it seems, because the woman’s body is found, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge. Before she disappeared Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of Peerie Lizzie, a child who was drowned close by in the 1920s. As Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves investigate, they, too, begin to feel that there is more to the story than meets the eye.
King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councillors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government of Henry’s successor, eight-year-old Prince Edward. As heretics are hunted across London, and the radical Protestant Anne Askew is burned at the stake, the Catholic party focus their attack on Henry’s sixth wife, Matthew Shardlake’s old mentor, Queen Catherine Parr.
Shardlake, still haunted by events aboard the warship Mary Rose the year before, is working on the Cotterstoke Will case, a savage dispute between rival siblings. Then, unexpectedly, he is summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen.
For Catherine Parr has a secret. She has written a confessional book, Lamentation of a Sinner, so radically Protestant that if it came to the King’s attention it could bring both her and her sympathizers crashing down. But, although the book was kept secret and hidden inside a locked chest in the Queen’s private chamber, it has €“ inexplicably €“ vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.
Shardlake’s investigations take him on a trail that begins among the backstreet printshops of London but leads him and Jack Barak into the dark and labyrinthine world of the politics of the royal court; a world he had sworn never to enter again. Loyalty to the Queen will drive him into a swirl of intrigue inside Whitehall Palace, where Catholic enemies and Protestant friends can be equally dangerous, and the political opportunists, who will follow the wind wherever it blows, more dangerous than either.
The theft of Queen Catherine’s book proves to be connected to the terrible death of Anne Askew, while his involvement with the Cotterstoke litigants threatens to bring Shardlake himself to the stake.