This is my favourite Shardlake novel. It has exciting adventure and some interesting character development (as well as the introduction of an important person to Matthew's life).
I do find it ironic that he was so disappointed by Lady Honor's rejection (due to differences in their social status). He was very disapproving of his former assistant in the first book for "carrying on with" a servant girl (whom Mark professed to care deeply for and would eventually elope with). Now he looks at Lady Honor reproachfully, saying "Then you did not love me". What a change! I know it's a way of showing how far his character has developed since the first novel, but it's a bit of "just desserts" as well, for all that he's also suffered during his lifetime. I like Matthew's character, but sometimes he's a bit heavy-handed with his morals; it's good to be knocked down a peg or two every once in a while.
The main plotline about Greek Fire did not interest me so much as Matthew's relationship with one of Cromwell's men, Barak. I admit that I have a weakness for the hurly-burly adventurer type of men with many skills (sneaking, lock picking, swordsmanship, etc.), so it was fun to see how these two mixed; they were a bit like oil and water at the beginning. Barak was good at pointing out Matthew's shortsightedness when it came to the "little people".