The King’s Spy is set between Romsey and Oxford during the English Civil War. Thomas Hill is a bookseller from Romsey who is summoned to Oxford to the King’s court which has moved there from London. The King’s cryptographer has been found dead and it soon becomes Thomas’ job to help uncover encrypted messages from the enemy. However, Oxford has changed dramatically since Thomas’ university days and he soon realizes that everything, and everyone, is not quite as it seems.
This is a dramatic and engaging novel that had me on the edge of my seat, desperate to find out what would happen next. Thomas is transported from the peaceful town of Romsey to the heart of the King’s court at Oxford. Here, he is unwittingly thrust into the heart of danger and must work out who is a friend and who is an enemy.
This is the first fictional book set during the period of the English Civil War that I have read and I found it fascinating. Swanston has cleverly brought seventeenth century Oxford to life making the reader feel connected to the scenes. I was pleased to see that this is the first in a trilogy and I look forward to seeing what Thomas does in the future installments.
Recommended for fans of historical fiction.
I read this as part of the Transworld Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.