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This was the first Susanna Gregory novel that I read and, I must admit, I am now addicted. This book is the first in the Thomas Chaloner mystery series and is a fantastic opener. Set early in the reign of Charles II in a period of turbulence, change and gluttonous excess, there is plenty of intrigue to form the basis of a good story. Gregory really brings Restoration London to life with her descriptions of the chaotic and dangerous times. Spy, Thomas Chaloner is a likeable character with realistic flaws and the mystery had me hooked from start to finish. A perfect balance has been struck between the historical element of the novel and the mystery allowing for an easy and enlightening read. It has been a long time since I read a book that I couldn't put down and Susanna Gregory has produced a real page-turner with 'A Conspiracy of Violence.' I have now read the next two Thomas Chaloner novels and can't wait to read the rest of the series.
This is another book by Susanna Gregory, known for her historical books usually concerning members of the Royal Family or of the aristocratic class in Tudor England and later.
This book is set in 1662, after the Restoration of Charles II to the throne, and concerns Thoman Chaloner, and is a book in the series about him. Chaloner used to work in the Netherlands, and can speak Dutch, English and French, however the book concerns his return to England and his subsequent sacking by his boss. Chaloner, under a false name, is employed by the Earl of Clarendon and sent to explore the story of seven thousand pounds worth of good being hidden in the cellar of the Tower of London. Chaloner also ends up investigating the deaths of various people, including a messenger boy, Charles-Stewart.
The book weaves intrigue and mystery around the backdrop of Restoration England, and the struggles between the Papists, Parliamentarianists and Royalists, all tryig to outdo each other, and looking at each other with fear.
I received 2 Susanna Gregory novels for Christmas (after I had read a review that her books are really good) and have just finished reading the first of the Thomas Chaloner Mysteries called 'A Conspiracy of Violence'.
Being new to Susanna Gregory I was unsure of what to expect. I was utterly engrossed by this story and could hardly put it down once I had started reading. The plot is intricate enough to keep you guessing and the characters are compelling.
I am not one of those people who like to give away the story in a review as I don't see the point of reading a book after reading a detailed account of what happens in the story . . . so I am only giving you a brief outline to make you curious:
The story is set in Restoration London in 1662. Charles 2 has been instated as King and London is teeming with people trying to prove their loyalty to the King. Anyone who had any connection to the parliamentarians is in danger of being exposed as a traitor.
Thomas Chaloner is in the unfortunate position of having been a spy in Holland (which is threatening to go to war with England), has a Dutch girlfriend and had an uncle who was one of the men who signed the death warrant for Charles 1. Thomas is finding it difficult to secure work because of his connections, but manages to secure a temporary position (to prove his worth) helping the new Lord Chancellor who asks him to help find a treasure. His old boss, John Thurloe ex-spymaster, also asks him to help uncover any plots against him, as well as finding out how and why another spy sent to work for the Lord Chancellor had been murdered. Thomas quickly realises that all his investigations are connected and tries to unravel the mystery while thwarting attempts on his own life.
'A Conspiracy of Violence' is a fast-paced book that keeps you in suspense until the very last page. I can highly recommend the novel to those who like a good mystery novel as well as those who enjoy novels set in historical times.
'A Conspiracy of Violence' is available on Amazon for £5.99
The dour days of Cromwell are over. Charles II is well established at White Hall Palace, his mistress at hand in rooms over the Holbein bridge, the heads of some of the regicides on public display. London seethes with new energy, freed from the strictures of the Protectorate, but many of its inhabitants have lost their livelihoods. One is Thomas Chaloner, a reluctant spy for the feared Secretary of State, John Thurloe, and now returned from Holland in desperate need of employment. His erstwhile boss, knowing he has many enemies at court, recommends Thomas to Lord Clarendon, but in return demands that Thomas keep him informed of any plot against him. But what Thomas discovers is that Thurloe had sent another ex-employee to White Hall and he is dead, supposedly murdered by footpads near the Thames. Chaloner volunteers to investigate his killing: instead he is despatched to the Tower to unearth the gold buried by the last Governor. He discovers not treasure, but evidence that greed and self-interest are uppermost in men's minds whoever is in power, and that his life has no value to either side.