There’s a lot of historical crime and spy fiction about at the moment – CJ Sansom, SG Maclean, CS Quinn and SJ Parris to name a few that I have enjoyed. I wonder why all of these authors choose to use both initials rather than their first names?

Chaos, the second novel by AD Swanston is a worthy addition to the list. Set in Elizabethan London, Dr Christopher Radcliffe (the Earl of Leicesters chief Intelligencer) is struggling to uncover the source of counterfeit coins that are causing panic and riot within the city. Strange messages start to appear on the walls of the city and then plague crosses are daubed on doors. Chaos is very close but Radcliffe and his informers are getting no closer to finding out who is responsible or why.

At the same time Radcliffe’s slightly unusual personal life is unravelling, his housekeeper is in Newgate accused of witchcraft and his paramour abandons him.

Chaos is very good, a pacy read with fascinating detail about Elizabethan London and politics.


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