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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Read
Having read the first two Thomas Hill novels it was quite hard to see where the story would go without his arch enemy Tobias Rush.
However, this book did not disappoint at all with a good range of characters who were convincing and engaging (the 17th century assassin and the rather grotesque bawd were probably my favourites). The code breaking element is part of the...
Published 6 months ago by Hargo

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing successor
The Thomas Hill stories started really well with Vol 1 but I feel 2 and 3 were pot boilers. There is a good sense of history and atmosphere but the plot creaks at the seams and really did not hold interest enough. The code-breaking is a good feature of all 3 novels but I felt it was much more perfunctory in 2 and 3. Characterisation is quite rudimentary as if the expected...
Published 25 days ago by Mike Lexically


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Read, 24 May 2014
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This review is from: The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels) (Hardcover)
Having read the first two Thomas Hill novels it was quite hard to see where the story would go without his arch enemy Tobias Rush.
However, this book did not disappoint at all with a good range of characters who were convincing and engaging (the 17th century assassin and the rather grotesque bawd were probably my favourites). The code breaking element is part of the story but it is perfectly possible to enjoy the tale without becoming too embroiled in its intricacies.
The plot is strong and kept my attention throughout . One of the particularly interesting aspects of the book is the description of some parts of London which would now be considered upmarket but which were clearly far from salubrious around the time of the Civil War. Similarly, the Kent marshes are well described and provide a sinister background to a rescue mission.
The book held my attention to the end and I would like to think that this will not be the last we see of the hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Author Maintains The Highest of Standards, 21 Aug 2014
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels) (Hardcover)
Having read the other two books The King's Spy: (Book 1), 2012, and The King's Exile: (Book 2), 2013, in the Thomas Hill series, I looked forward to reading this the third one with a great deal of anticipation. I certainly was not disappointed. The author has the knack of making his story lines extremely enjoyable reading, and holds the reader's attention throughout the book. Although his main character Thomas Hill, could never be placed in the conventional heroic mould, he is certainly likeable, and in his own modest way resolute, and fearless rather than fearsome.

England has returned to a monarchy, Charles II is now on the throne, and following the austere days under Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, London is once again beginning to blossom. That is until a series of murders begin to occur. While staying with friends in London Thomas is soon drawn into the cloak and dagger events that are happening around him. Against his better judgement Thomas is inveigled into doing his country a service as a cryptographer and cipher breaker, a job that he has done before for his country, but is loathe to become embroiled in again, and only agrees to help the king's security advisor under protest, but on the other side of the coin, as a bonus he also sees it as an opportunity to become better acquainted with a young lady who has recently entered his life.

I found this book a very enjoyable read. Reader's who have sampled the previous two books in the series will find this one irresistible. Finally, this period of history is very popular with many authors, so much so that I found it very amusing to read the name of John Thurloe, in this book. He was a real life spymaster in the Cromwell regime, and his name is mentioned constantly as a friend and associate of Thomas Chaloner, the main character in a series of books written by Susanna Gregory. Small world, even the historical one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twists and turns of the cryptographer, 30 April 2014
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels) (Hardcover)
Parmenion Books Review

I find myself in a bit of a quandary with writing this review, a review is a very personal thing, and even 15 years on from the early days of reviews i find that i cannot move away from just giving my person insight, whilst tempering it with a hope that each of you will make up your own mind. As it had been some time since I read the last book and there had been many pages and many centuries between the books (From Rome, to modern thrillers) I decided that I would re-read books one and two and then dive straight into book 3, Kings return.

I finished all 3 books off in just over a week which clearly shows that there is something significantly engaging and entertaining in the books, that the characters are there and that they are well rounded and developed. That there has been a large amount of research put into the plot and its delivered in a very engaging style.

But: I found that the stories while well told and complex, felt like they lacked something, lacked those little nuggets of history that delight me (forgive me Andrew if i missed them) EG: in Simon Scarrows Young Bloods series about Wellington and Napoleon there is a wonderful scene where young Napoleon is at school and despite not being one of the “popular “ boys he ends up leading by force of character one of the sides in an all out snowball war. It’s a real nugget of history and its stayed with me for years. This series by Andrew Swanston has some delightful passages and really carries the reader along with the plot. But it feels to hover above history, slightly outside it, offering a birds eye view rather than immersing me in the history. I didn't feel the heat of the island, I didn't smell the stink of the sugar (and I live in a town with a Sugar factory so would have found it easy to smell the history), i didn't feel the grime of old London . It may well be that reading this just after reading The new God of Vengeance by Giles Kristen isn't a fair scenario, that book was just stunning and so many authors would pale in comparison. On another day this series may gain a higher rating from me, but i could not escape the feeling of being a voyeur in Mr Hills travails rather than a participant. Please please though read these books, my review comes from my impression at the time of reading and in comparison to some truly remarkable writing. Andrews work is still a delight to read.

I do truly feel that if you love Civil War history, and you love a puzzle, then try the series. The lead character is a cryptographer and there are many puzzles and turns to hold the attention of the reader. It is a fun and interesting read and has a pace that makes the books fly past.

Well worth a read

(Parm)

Thomas Hill Trilogy

1. The King's Spy (2012)
2. The King's Exile (2013)
3. The King's Return (2014)
The King's SpyThe King's ExileThe King's Return

Novellas
Beautiful Star (2014)
Beautiful Star
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4.0 out of 5 stars A restoration thriller, 23 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels) (Hardcover)
London 1661, the Commonwealth is over and the King is returned from exile. Thomas Hill has come to London to attend the Coronation, guest of friends visiting from Barbados. Hill is settled into retirement and is not looking for adventure but adventure finds him.

Three men have been slain in suspicious circumstances. The methods are different but two are linked by connections to the Post Office and its work in intercepting communications. There is concern that both the Dutch and the French are looking for an opportunity to invade England. Added to this Hill is developing a relationship with an independent young woman and he does not know where that is leading.

I hadn't seen the first two books in the series so I came to this cold about characters and back-story, that is often a problem with joining a series mid-way. In this case the book stands up well on its own. There are references to previous escapades but these are always given a quick explanation and are not intrinsic to the tale. It's an enjoyable story which moves along at a good pace and the bits about cryptography are very interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing successor, 28 Oct 2014
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The Thomas Hill stories started really well with Vol 1 but I feel 2 and 3 were pot boilers. There is a good sense of history and atmosphere but the plot creaks at the seams and really did not hold interest enough. The code-breaking is a good feature of all 3 novels but I felt it was much more perfunctory in 2 and 3. Characterisation is quite rudimentary as if the expected readership were aged about 13.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisty spy tale and intrepid historical adventure, 15 May 2014
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels) (Hardcover)
It is 1661. Finally, the bloody years of Civil War are finished and the dour Commonwealth of Cromwell overthrown. King Charles II is restored to the throne - clothes are at their most elaborate, the theatres are full, the coffee bars buzzing with whispering gossips, and the parks of London are alive once more with promenaders in their finest. But while the city celebrates the coronation, not all is as it should be. Not everyone is happy to see the end of republicanism and there are powers abroad all too ready to stir up dissident voices or, worse, put money in the pockets of murderers.

Thomas Hill is a reluctant visitor to London. In town for the coronation, he stays with old friends Mary and Charles Carrington who entertain him one evening with a dinner party. Among the guests is senior government official and adviser to the King, Joseph Williamson. Williamson is also in charge of the Post Office, an institution that has considerably less to do with delivering letters than opening them, copying them and informing on their authors and recipients, because Joseph Williamson is the King's chief spymaster. When Joseph learns of Thomas's previous great success as cryptographer, he is at pains to make use of his skills. For Joseph has a problem. Men in his employ are falling foul of a murderer, their throats cut. Joseph suspects that it signifies nothing less than an international plot against the monarchy. No-one wants a return to Civil War, at least no-one in their right mind. But as Thomas works to unravel the clues, the danger draws ever closer until it is not just a national emergency he is at risk of discovering, but also a personal disaster.

The King's Return is the third novel in Andrew Swanton's series on cryptographer Thomas Hill, with previous novels looking at his career in Civil War Oxford and then his years in Barbados. It is, though, my first. I was attracted to this particular novel because of its setting in 1661. I have read a fair few novels set in the English Civil War but none set during the Restoration. What a fascinating time it must have been! These glory years after violence and austerity and before Plague and Fire. And that is the extent of my knowledge. The good news is that The King's Return holds up very well indeed as a standalone novel and it didn't matter that I knew so little about Thomas's past. Although, having said that, I do have the previous two books and I intend to read them. Thomas and Mary Carrington have history and I would like to investigate.

The King's Return is very much focused on the plot and it's a satisfyingly complex and twisty spy tale, which combines both intellectual exercise and intrepid adventure. The two go well together and there is a strong sense that Thomas is challenged in more ways than one while the reader never actually doubts that he will triumph in the end. But while we are confident about Thomas, we certainly aren't about Madeleine Stewart, the woman that Thomas falls for. I enjoyed their relationship in the novel very much. This is an adult affair. Both Thomas and Madeline have endured much and we learn a little of that here. The shadow of Civil War overhangs The King's Return and everyone in it, from the king himself downwards. London witnesses almost daily the king's vengeance against his father's executioners while Thomas and Madeleine have their own reasons and raw wounds to detest the recent war. The theatres might be open again but they can be volatile places. Crowds in post-war London have a mob-like tendency.

The theatre analogies continue through the book. Thomas Hill decrypts his case as if he were dismantling the scenes of a play. His suspects are given roles in the drama, his notes construct each act. The players are all, to one degree or another, actors. Some are better at it than others. Fortunately, though, we are in safe hands with Thomas Hill, our modest, quiet and very likeable unraveller of secrets.

The King's Return is an entertaining and relatively light read, with an exciting plot and villains worthy of it. It has an air of manners about it, befitting its setting. But when the masks are removed and the action moves from the dining rooms into bedrooms or taken outside the house or office into London's poorest streets or its Godforsaken marshes, the truth will out. I'm grateful for the review copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another really good read, 15 May 2014
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A really good holiday read. Follows on well from the other books. Looking forward to book 4, there has to be one.... please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good page turner, 13 May 2014
I read this in a couple of days while a Hilary Mantel (which I also enjoy) lay neglected on the shelves. The action moves along very nicely and pulls the reader in. There is a pleasing mix of "realistic" characters - the protagonist and his heroine - and grotesques, such as the remarkable Josiah Mottershead (no relation) whose antics are unfailingly entertaining. And a brothel keeper from your worst nightmares!
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4.0 out of 5 stars This will keep you up reading all night, 1 Sep 2014
I found this in the library and took it out before I had read The Kings Exile and enjoyed it so much had to get that one for my Kindle. This is an excellent read certainly keeps up a good speed and had me sitting late into the night to finish. Only regret is that I worked out one of the villains early on but then who is complaining if at the end of the book I wanted to go out and buy the second Thomas Hill I had missed. Just proved I should not have relied on the library should have gone to Amazon (now where have I seen that before?)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Hill came to London for the Coronation. What could go wrong??, 6 Oct 2014
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A jolly violent romp through post Civil War England. How they functioned after drinking all that Claret I can only imagine. Andrew Swanston uses a flowery embroidered prose that seems to fit with the time and enhances the readers experience. I recommend you read all 3 Thomas Hill novels in chronological order. I for one would love to pop down to Romsey and share a claret or 3 with our reluctant hero.
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The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels)
The King's Return: (Thomas Hill 3) (Thomas Hill Novels) by Andrew Swanston (Hardcover - 24 April 2014)
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