Series: Christopher Radcliff #1
Release Date: 7th August 2017
Find it: Goodreads. Amazon.
Summer, 1572 and England is vulnerable. Fear of plague and insurrection taint the air, and heresy, fanaticism and religious unrest seethe beneath the surface of society. Rumour and mistrust lead to imprisonment, torture and sometimes murder. To the young lawyer Christopher Radcliff and his patron and employer, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the prospects for peace are grave – and as Leicester’s chief intelligencer, he is charged with investigating both the rumours of rebellion at home and invasion from abroad.
But Radcliff’s own life is far from orderly. His relationship with the widow Katherine Allingham is somewhat turbulent and the cut-throat world of court politics leaves no room for indiscretions.
That the queen’s own cousin, the Duke of Norfolk, is found guilty of treason, it is a sign of just how deep the dissent goes. Jesuit priests have been sent to England in order to foment revolt but the threat of a Catholic uprising comes not just from within. Across the channel, France is caught up in a frenzy of brutal religious persecution and England’s other enemy of old, Spain, is making preparations to invade. England is a powder-keg, just waiting for a spark to ignite it – and then Christopher Radcliff hears word of a plot that could provide that spark. The word is ‘incendium’ – but what does it mean and who lies behind it? Suddenly Christopher Radcliff is caught up in a race against time…
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Incendium. Incendium is a really rich and beautifully written book, set during a fascinating time in England’s history. This book is a fantastic start to the series, and I thoroughly enjoyed this intense historical thriller. The novel is full of life, with all the sights and smells of Elizabethean England really coming alive. Swanston doesn’t shy away from vivid descriptions of what that time period was like, and it really serves to suck you in all the more.
Radcliff is a really interesting character. He’s resourceful, intelligent and determined. Seeing the story unfold from his perspective made for some really gripping reading. He’s certainly the perfect protagonist for this story. The rest of the cast of characters are equally as well written, making for a some really fascinating perspectives.
The plot is pretty fast paced – though I did find the initial few chapters a little slow – but there’s plenty of action and political intrigue going on to keep you hooked. This is one of the best historical novels I’ve read in a long time, and if you’re a fan of Swanston’s other books, you’re going to absolutely love this!