Tuesday, 29 July 2014

HISTORICAL SPY FICTION REVIEW: Thomas Hill 3: The King's Return - Andrew Swanston

Release Date: 24/04/14
Publisher:  Bantam


The king's coronation brings hope. Until a murderer strikes. Spring 1661. After years of civil war followed by Oliver Cromwell's joyless rule as Lord Protector, England awaits the coronation of King Charles II. The mood in London is one of relief and hope for a better future. But when two respectable gentlemen are found in a foul lane with their throats cut, it becomes apparent that England's enemies are using the newly re-established post office for their own ends. There are traitors at work and plans to overthrow the king. Another war is possible. Thomas Hill, in London visiting friends, is approached by the king's security advisor and asked to take charge of deciphering coded letters intercepted by the post office. As the body count rises and the killer starts preying on women, the action draws closer to Thomas - and his loved ones. He finds himself dragged into the hunt for the traitors and the murderer, but will he find them before it's too late?


I love returning to yesteryear to be immersed in a world that is just as complex and politically tricky as the one in which we currently live and whilst I’m not under the constant threat of death from my own side alongside the opposition, when I’m thrust into those days, I want to be able to feel the city that I walk through with the principle character, the cobbled streets, the stench of the gutter and of course the various scents of a live city and to be honest its t tricky thing to pull off.


Well it’s a fine line between what many would assume is either info-dump or too little detail and when that vies against storyline it can be a bit of a pickle for the author to get it right, and sadly for me, that’s where Andrew has failed in this the third outing of his high octane series. That’s not to say that it isn’t good, I love the puzzles, the storyline and of course the principle player however without that additional detail it could technically be set in any time. Don’t get me wrong it does work on so many levels but if I don’t get the full experience I’m left feeling a little cheated.

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