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on 11 May 2017
A very enjoyable read. I have downloaded the other 2 books and look forward to reading them. The only negative for me was the parts relating to the descriptions of the coded messages and the detail in which this was explained. Necessary of course if you were to understand how it all worked and the complexity of it but I have to admit I glazed over when I came to those parts and moved on to take up the story again. Sorry Mr Swanston!!!!

Jackie Bailey
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on 8 June 2017
I enjoyed reading this book but was a bit surprised by the ending. I thought that there was too many lose ends. Ah there is another 2 books, bring them on :-)
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on 16 June 2017
OK -view of Civil War ?how accurate
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on 31 May 2017
Although the book arrived in time it had a fluorescent green sticker on the spine which must have been attached with industrial strength adhesive as,despite my being careful,ripped the cover rendering it unfit for display on my bookshelf.
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on 12 June 2017
A good read
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on 27 April 2017
great introduction to Thomas Hill's story line
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on 29 May 2017
Brilliant book, just started reading the second one The Kings Exile
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on 6 June 2016
Kept me interested
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on 14 October 2013
I approached this expecting that it would not match the novels of authors such as CJ Sansom or SJ Parris. What a surprise though. It has plot, plenty of action and keeps you guessing with some surprises along the way. It also has a great sense of time and place and Swanston's descriptions of Oxford almost stand out from the page making you believe your are there. What I particularly enjoyed, which is perhaps missing from similar books, is the humour not least of all of the main character. The pace kept me glued to the end and I cannot wait to read his next novel.
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on 7 December 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Maths is fun. Probably a statement that you have never heard, except when in the room with an eager edutainer. The fact is that for most people Maths is pretty dull; unless is it comes in the form of a puzzle; everyone loves a puzzle, don't they? Thomas Hill specialises in codes and his peaceful life in 17th Century Romsey is shattered when he is asked by the King to decode messages that come from the Parliamentary army. Thomas moves to Oxford were the streets are paved in human excrement and the loyal solders are as dangerous as any enemy. Can he decode a particularly difficult message before he is framed as a spy?

`The King's Spy' is best when it is describing the period of the Civil War. Andrew Swanston has a great way of making it feel very real. Thomas is a compelling character, scholar, mathematician, but no fighter, that is unless he is provoked. It is nice to read a book set during a war from the point of view of a man who loves peace. One scene that particularly stands out is that of a great battle, Thomas sits in a tent decoding messages as the noise of slaughter fills the air.

The sense of place is brilliant, but the crime story that is the main narrative of `The King's Spy' becomes increasingly naïve and ridiculous as the story unfolds. A little too much happens to Thomas by the end of the book and you lose any sense of realism that Swanston was trying to achieve. Swanston would have been better saving some of the major plot twists for another book so that each part of the trilogy felt a little more historically accurate. `The King's Spy' remains a fun book to read, just one that fails towards the end as crime fiction. History lovers will enjoy the sense of time present, but other readers may become frustrated with the pacing issues.
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