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C.J. Sansom books in order

Christopher John Sansom, best known as C.J. Sansom, is a British bestselling author of Historical crime novels.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he attended the University of Birmingham where he pursued a BA and a PhD in history.

Sansom undertook a variety of jobs before deciding to retrain as a solicitor.

He then practiced law in Sussex for a while, becoming a voice for the voiceless, before leaving his job in order to become a full-time as a writer.

Sansom currently resides in Sussex.

More about C.J. Sansom

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Born: 1952

United Kingdom


Non Series

  • Winter in Madrid (2006)
  • Dominion (2012)

Medieval Murderers Series

  1. The Tainted Relic (2005)
  2. Sword of Shame (2006)
  3. House of Shadows (2007)
  4. The Lost Prophecies (2008)
  5. King Arthur's Bones (2009)
  6. The Sacred Stone (2010)
  7. Hill of Bones (2011)
  8. The First Murder (2012)
  9. The False Virgin (2013)
  10. The Deadliest Sin (2014)

The Shardlake Series

  1. Dissolution (2003)
  2. Dark Fire (2004)
  3. Sovereign (2006)
  4. Revelation (2008)
  5. Heartstone (2010)
  6. Lamentation (2015)
  7. Tombland (2018)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Winter in Madrid

The year is 1940.

Madrid lies in destruction in the wake of the Spanish Civil War. Its citizens are starving while Germany continues with its conquest of Europe.

Britain no longer has allies while General Franco contemplates renouncing neutrality in order to enter the war.

Enter Harry Brett: a traumatized veteran of Dunkirk who’s now a hesitant spy for the British Secret Service.

On a mission to win over the trust of old school friend Sandy Forsyth, now a dubious businessman based in the Spanish capital, Harry not only finds himself caught up in a lethal game, but is also surrounded by memories.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0143115137
Publisher: Penguin Books

The year is 1952.

It’s been twelve years since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain gave in to Nazi Germany. Not only is the media tightly controlled, but British Jews also face ever tougher restrictions.

Churchill's Resistance soldiers however haven’t given up.

Frank Muncaster, a frail scientist somewhere in a Birmingham mental hospital, keeps a secret that could forever change the balance of the global struggle.

Although Civil Servant David Fitzgerald—a spy for the Resistance—is sent to rescue Frank and sneak him out of the country, a gifted Gestapo agent named Gunther Hoth soon abducts Frank and David's innocent wife, with Sarah, being his next target.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0330511032
Publisher: Pan

Medieval Murderers Series

The Tainted Relic

It’s July, 1100. Jerusalem has been plundered.

An English knight is in possession of a priceless religious relic: a piece of the True Cross, said to be stained with the blood of Christ. It's also alleged that the relic is cursed, as whoever touches it dies.

A dealer possessing it is then murdered en route to Glastonbury several decades later, with the relic being stolen.

Centuries later, several mysterious deaths take place, with the relic still at the centre of things.

The relic is however eventually sent to London where it will meet its eventual fate.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-1416502135
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sword of Shame

Fury and vengeance rocked the region from the moment the Sword of Shame arrived in Britain with the Norman forces of William the Conqueror.

From an election marred with allegations of malpractice in Venice during the 13th century, to the 1356 battlefield of Poitiers, violence is the only constant wherever the sword goes.

Regardless of who possesses the Sword of Shame, this blade is connected with a number of enthralling mysteries, as it causes nothing but utter disgrace to anyone who claims it.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2006
Ebook: B007FROHA0
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
House of Shadows

The year is 1114 in Bermondsey Priory.

A young chaplain faces a frightening punishment after giving in to the lust of the flesh.

And with that, the monastery is cursed, haunted by murder and deception for the next five centuries.

The lifeless body of a youthful bride is discovered two days before her wedding; a mysterious figure warns of imminent destruction; an audacious plot to overthrow King Edward II; mad monks and aberrant priests; even Chaucer the poet finds himself drawn into the sinister deeds and vicious killings which imbue this miserable place.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0743295468
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Lost Prophecies

A strange book of prophecies recorded by an Irish monk in the 6th centuryhas perplexed scholars through the ages.

From predicting the wars, plagues and rebellions, the Black Book of Bran is also alleged to have prophesied about the Black Death and the Gunpowder Plot.

Was it however the outcome of divine inspiration or rather the rumblings of a maniac?

A secret stockpile of Saxon gold, an assassinated priest, a brutally murdered monk in Westminster Abbey: the only guarantee is that whoever claims the cursed book meets a sudden and horrific death.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1847391216
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
King Arthur's Bones

The year is 1191.

An ancient cross is unearthed during excavation work at Glastonbury Abbey.

On it are inscribed the words: “Hic iacet sepultus inclitus rex arturius” meaning “Here lies buried the renowned King Arthur.”

Could the skeletal underneath very well be the remains of the legendary King Arthur and his queen, Guinevere?

As the monks dispute over what the remarkable discovery could result in, the bones mysteriously vanish.

From a missing right hand to a gang of merciless bodysnatchers, to a brother accused of turning against brother, the secret of the bones' hiding place is passed from one generation to another, with those bestowed with the responsibility of protecting Arthur's remains facing deception, theft, extortion and murder.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-1847393654
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Sacred Stone

The year is 1067.

A pack of hunters comes across a weirdly-shaped meteor in the remote wilderness of Greenland.

The strange stone, which fell from the sky, brings good fortune at first; healing a disabled boy and even leading to a decent catch of furs.

It’s however doesn’t take long before chaos and slaughter blights the village, as neighbor turns against neighbor in desperation to possess the precious stone.

From crusading knights, to the evil Sheriff of Devon, to the band of young revolutionary kabbalists, the stone will for the next six decades bring nothing but deception and chaos to whoever claims it.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-1847398321
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hill of Bones

The year is 1199 in Bath Abbey.

Peace is disrupted after the dead body of Abbey's despised prior is discovered on Solsbury Hill.

Arriving to conduct the investigation is Sir Symon Cole and his spouse, Gwenllian, who soon learn that undertone voices suggest that what happened to the prior, was an act of divine punishment.

It is alleged that when the full moon rises on Solsbury Hill, only the pure in heart will pull through.

Determined to solve the mysterious case, Gwenllian embarks on an audacious investigation that puts her in the way of danger, even as Sir Symon accepts a challenge of going to the hill at night.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1471102714
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The First Murder

The year is 1154.

When the maiden performance of The Play of Adam at Oseney Priory is riddled with tragedy, the playwright releases a stern message meant for posterity: 'Beware the sins of envy and vainglory, else foul murder ends your story'.

From 1199 to 1361, the play always ended in tragedy despite being performed in a number of guises.

Could this be attributed to the curse of thespian rivalry? Or does the story of man's first murder haunt everyone who recreates it?

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-1471114427
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The False Virgin

The year is 848 AD.

Bernwyn of Lythe, a virgin and the young daughter of an ealdorman, refuses to get married and dedicates her entire life to Christ.

When her lifeless body is however discovered in the chapel where she kept her nightly vigils, many believe that she was murdered by Viking raiders destroying the country.

The butterflies found on her body are however believed to be a heavenly sign.

Could it be possible that Bernwyn wasn’t who she made everyone believe she was? Is there a chance that the saintly acts that she is credited with is the work of someone else, and that the people have laid out a shrine to a false virgin?

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2013
Ebook: B00GSD1WMI
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The Deadliest Sin

The year is 1348.

Rumor has it that poisonous clouds, which have destroyed cities and countries, are fast approaching England.

As others pray fervently, others overindulge in drinking and gambling as they wait for the end of their lives on earth.

Others on the other hand go on a pilgrimage, hoping that God will spare them from the punishment.

Could this wrath be because of their deadly sins?

When some pilgrims seek shelter at an inn, their host convinces them to confess their sins in a bid to see which one is the best. That is, the worst.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2014

The Shardlake Series


The year is 1537 in England.

King Henry VIII has just declared himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is heavily divided between those faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to the throne and the newly formed Church of England.

When the vicious killing of a royal commissioner takes place in a monastery on the south coast of England, Thomas Cromwell—Henry VIII’s dreaded vicar general—calls for fellow reformer Matthew Shardlake to lead the investigations.

What Shardlake and his youthful apprentice unearth is a proof of sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason.

And when two more mysterious killings take place, Shardlake and his team works against the clock to stop the killer before it’s too late.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-0142004302
Publisher: Penguin Books
Dark Fire

The year is 1540 in England.

Matthew Shardlake is determined to defend a young girl accused of viciously killing her young cousin.

Despite being threatened with torture, the girl utterly refuses to give her version of the story.

With all hope seemingly lost, Thomas Cromwell—the king's chief minister—adds Shardlake two more weeks to prove the girl’s innocence, but only if he takes up a new assignment.

"Dark Fire", a delicate and infamous substance that can cause widespread destruction, has been missing for centuries.

When the formula is however stolen and two lifeless bodies are discovered, Shardlake suddenly finds himself with two chellenging cases and little time on his hands to solve them.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2004
ISBN: 978-0143036432
Publisher: Penguin Books

It’s autumn of 1541.

King Henry VIII is about to begin his breathtaking Progress to the North to attend an extravagant submission of his rebellious subjects in York.

Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak are already in the city.

Other than helping with some legal work, Shardlake is also on a grudging mission to transport a dangerous conspirator being taken to the nation’s capital for questioning.

Things however get interesting when a plot against the King is exposed in York, and the subject whose welfare Shardlake was ensuring is linked to the murder of a local glazer.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0143113171
Publisher: Penguin Books

The year is 1543 in England.

Rumors of King Henry VIII’s attempt to woo Lady Catherine Parr and make her his sixth wife are running riot.

Meanwhile, Matthew Shardlake is defending a teenage boy who is being held in the notorious Bedlam hospital for being a religious maniac.

When an old friend is brutally murdered, Shardlake promises his widow—whom he has for the longest time had tangled feelings for—that he will deliver justice.

His quest to find the killer however not only leads him back to Bedlam, but also to Catherine Parr—and the shocking prophecies found in the Book of Revelation.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0143116240
Publisher: Penguin Books

It’s the summer of 1545 and England is at war.

A huge fleet of French ships are planning to attack after King Henry VIII's invasion of France went terribly wrong.

Meanwhile, Matthew Shardlake is summoned by Queen Catherine Parr to look into allegations that "monstrous wrongs" were committed against a young ward of the court; something that has already resulted in one puzzling death.

As the French armada draws closer, Shardlake's investigation reunites him with an old friend and an old foe close to the throne.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0143120650
Publisher: Penguin Books

The year is 1546 in England.

While King Henry VIII lies on his deathbed, his Protestant and Catholic councillors are deeply embroiled in a power struggle where whoever wins takes command of the government of eight-year-old Prince Edward—the next in line to the throne.

With religious tension rising, the Catholic party shifts their attention to Queen Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth wife.

Matthew Shardlake, who already has his own fair share of problems, is summoned to Whitehall Palace to help Catherine Parr find her radically Protestant confessional book which has mysteriously disappeared, with the only page found in the hand of an executed London printer.

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1447260257
Publisher: Mantle

It’s spring of 1549. Two years have passed since the death of Henry VIII.

The country is filled with chaos.

With King Edward VI just eleven years old, his uncle, Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as the young king’s regent and Protector.

As revolutionary Protestants attempt to wipe out the old religion, the Protector's lengthy war with Scotland has brought the country’s economy to its knees.

And tension is building up among the peasantry.

Matthew Shardlake has been offering his legal services to the lady Elizabeth, Henry's younger daughter.

When one of Elizabeth's distant Norfolk relative is terribly murdered, Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton come in to assist with the investigation

When matters however take a turn for the worst, Shardlake must decide whether his loyalties lie with his kingdom, or with his lady?

Author: C.J. Sansom
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-0316412445
Publisher: Mulholland Books