Saturday 11 August 2012

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The King's Spy - Andrew Swanston

Release Date: 02/08/12


Summer, 1643 England is at war with itself. King Charles I has fled London, his negotiations with Parliament in tatters. The country is consumed by bloodshed. For Thomas Hill, a man of letters quietly running a bookshop in the rural town of Romsey, knowledge of the war is limited to the rumours that reach the local inn. When a stranger knocks on his door one night and informs him that the king's cryptographer has died, everything changes. Aware of Thomas' background as a mathematician and his expertise in codes and ciphers, the king has summoned him to his court in Oxford. On arrival, Thomas soon discovers that nothing at court is straightforward. There is evidence of a traitor in their midst. Brutal murder follows brutal murder. And when a vital message encrypted with a notoriously unbreakable code is intercepted, he must decipher it to reveal the king's betrayer and prevent the violent death that failure will surely bring.


The English Civil War seems to have an awful lot of fiction written around it at the moment, so it’s always hard to find something that isn’t repeated by any other author or smacks of something cobbled together poorly to make the most of the latest trend.

What Andrew produces within this title is a book that has a cracking lead protagonist who is fully rounded and grows within his own role as the civil situation changes around him. It’s hard hitting, and with the turmoil surrounding the time sets itself wonderfully for the mystery surrounding the character to unfurl. Add to this an author who has clearly done their research which when blended into the tale as a whole makes this a book that’s very hard to put down. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.

1 comment:

ediFanoB said...

When I look for historical fiction I know where to go. I visit Falcata Times because that is the place where I find all the books I missed to whatever reason.

The King's Spy by Andrew Swanston sounds really promising. And the good thing is, that this one is the first book in a series.

Thank you for another inspiring review.