Thursday 26 September 2013

Review ~The King's Exile by Andrew Swanston

Published by Transworld/Bantam
August 2013

This is the second book in the Thomas Hill trilogy and continues the story which started in The King’s Spy with Thomas’s role as cartographer and decoder during the English Civil war and of his association with the English King, Charles I.

Thomas Hill is a book seller living in rural Hampshire with his widowed sister and her two daughters. Without warning, in the spring of 1648, Thomas is arrested for the publication of an alleged seditious pamphlet and without any form of trial, he is transported to Barbados to work as an indentured servant to a dreadful set of captors. Life on this sugar plantation is very difficult and Thomas is shown no mercy but with great strength and determination he sets out to prove his innocence.

I do think it would be helpful to have read the first book in the series before embarking on this second book, as there are references made to the previous story which somehow get lost without prior knowledge. However, having said that, I enjoyed this story and felt that the time and place was captured perfectly. The historic involvement of the island of Barbados in the years after the English civil war is well documented, as is the slave trade and its effect on the Colonies, but with a clever blend of fact and fiction, the author has kept the integrity of the story alive and with great skill has produced a fascinating and gripping story.

My thanks to Elizabeth at Transworld for sending me this book as part of the
 Transworld Historical Reading Challenge 2013

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