Lamentation, I went back to the library and borrowed Dissolution, the first book in the series. In Dissolution, I met a much more idealistic William Shardlake, and came to see how he met one of his good friends - Guy.
In Dissolution, William Shardlake is sent by Cromwell to investigate a strange murder that occurs at the monastery of Scarnsea. Cromwell's commissioner was found murdered, his head cut off and a relic stolen (I believe a cock was also sacrificed). In this time, with Cromwell trying to get the monasteries to surrender to the King, a quick resolution to the problem is needed. But, the case turns out to be much more complicated than Shardlake expects...
To be honest, this more idealistic version of Shardlake was surprising. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the books to see how he got to the cynical self he was in Lamentation. And despite his fairly different character, I was still rooting for him. He's a bit more self-loathing in this book, but that just made me sympathise with him, and I was really hoping he would pull out of his funk.
But, I didn't like his assistant Mark Poer or Alice, the girl at the convent (who helps Guy). I will try not to give spoilers, but it might not be possible. Fair warning given. So, basically, by the end of the book, Mark has 'backstabbed' (ok, in a sense, it was more of an abandonment than a backstabbing) Shardlake. And this is despite how Shardlake has been trying to help him get over his mistake (he slept with a court lady and got in trouble). I cannot stand ungrateful people like this. I was really hoping that he and Alice would have an unhappy ending, but it doesn't seem like it. Booo.
The mystery itself was interesting. I definitely did not expect the murderer to be that person, or that the case would end up like that. I also liked the descriptions of the monastery, and thought it was well-portrayed. There are the devout, the wolf-in-sheeps-clothing, and the sinner struggling with his sin. Basically, it was a microcosm of human nature.
All in all, I enjoyed this book. I can't say I was overjoyed at the ending, but at least I know that Shardlake goes on to find better and more loyal companions in the next few books.