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Publisher's Summary

Summer 1643: England is at war with itself. King Charles I has fled London, his negotiations with Parliament in tatters. The country is consumed by bloodshed. For Thomas Hill, a man of letters quietly running a bookshop in the rural town of Romsey, knowledge of the war is limited to the rumours that reach the local inn.

When a stranger knocks on his door one night and informs him that the king's cryptographer has died, everything changes. Aware of Thomas' background as a mathematician and his expertise in codes and ciphers, the king has summoned him to his court in Oxford.

On arrival Thomas soon discovers that nothing at court is straightforward. There is evidence of a traitor in their midst. Brutal murder follows brutal murder. And when a vital message encrypted with a notoriously unbreakable code is intercepted, he must decipher it to reveal the king's betrayer and prevent the violent death that failure will surely bring.

©2012 Andrew Swanston (P)2015 Isis Publishing Ltd, Random House Audiobooks

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good historical piece

I liked the authors use of accurate history setting to place the character Thomas. The use of codes was real, in fact, separating what was real from fiction from this book would be difficult. The reader/performer did a great job with all of the voices, especially the king. The pace of the book was good and the writing was well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 07-01-17

Simplistic and Contrived

Could not even finish it. Plot is silly and the author's conventions are contrived and distracting. To explain ciphers to the reader, he had one character explain it to another. Really? Could not generate any interest in the slow and plodding plot.

The narrator would have been fine without the theatrical attempt to create different voices for different characters.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Millie
  • 11-08-17

excellent spy story

Good story. The codes sounded complicated but you don't really need to know them but just accept the explanation. The narrator read clearly and well

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sean
  • 09-12-17

Gently compelling

Reminds me somehow of Reade. A good storyline with a double bluff as to who the real villain will turn out to be

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Stuffed
  • 07-13-15

Slow moving

The story is very slow moving and the information about decoding the ciphers excessive. I would not recommend the book.

5 of 10 people found this review helpful