Dark Fire is the second Matthew Shardlake novel set during the reign of Henry VIII. This time, it’s the summer of 1540, and Shardlake is desperately trying to save a young woman who remains silent about a terrible murder she has supposedly committed while also trying to save his erstwhile master, Lord Cromwell, from the wrath of the King. If Shardlake can piece together the secret of “dark fire”, a weapon used by the Byzantines that has disappeared from existence after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, then Cromwell promises to help with Shardlake’s other case. Dark Fire is suspenseful, moving, and introduces Jack Barak, a character who quickly became a favorite of mine. He and Shardlake make a brilliant team, even as Shardlake displays (yet again) his propensity to fall for the wrong sort of woman.
(Read from April 3-April 4, 2010)