• A Conspiracy of Violence

  • Adventures of Thomas Chaloner, Book 1
  • By: Susanna Gregory
  • Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 8 mins
  • 3.9 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Susanna Gregory, author of the Matthew Bartholomew series of medieval mysteries, has created another compelling fictional detective set in Restoration London.

The first adventure in the Thomas Chaloner series.

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 dispatched 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.

©2006 Susanna Gregory (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"Pungent with historical detail." (Irish Times

"A richly imagined world of colourful medieval society and irresistible monkish sleuthing." (Good Book Guide)   

"Corpses a-plenty, exciting action sequences and a satisfying ending." (Mystery People

What listeners say about A Conspiracy of Violence

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-06-21

Welcome Thomas Chaloner

I have been reading Susanna Gregory’s Matthew Bartholomew series and after 8 chronicles decided to look at her Thomas Chaloner series. This was largely prompted by the increased availability of the audio-books on Audible. I am pleased that I did. So what did I like? - the setting was varied and by virtue of clothes more colourful; different sensibilities and a time of cultural tumult; a main character that is skilled, resourceful and well able to defend himself; relationships that are not will-they-won’t-they; a bigger city-scape; a range of characters that look likely to important and likely to return; novelties (who would have thought there was a significant role for a live turkey?); broader inclusion of women characters. This first novel in the series is eventful, rich in its characters and deeply plotted. The resolve has many surprises. Some might think that Susanna Gregory mysteries are convoluted - I liked this, and recommend it. The journey of the mystery is as important to me as the solution. The audio-book narration is good in sense and faithfully presenting characters. On the basis of this my first Thomas Chaloner read I have purchased the next audio-book in the series and several print mysteries

6 people found this helpful

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  • Julian Summer
  • 04-18-21

Very poor

This book is too long and ridiculously over complicated to the extent that the plot keeps on stopping for one or other character to review where we are and how we got there. This slows the story down to the point it becomes boring. The characters are thinly drawn and in some cases reduced to caricature s. The hero, Thomas Challoner is annoying and indecisive and is obviously a male as perceived by a female author of limited talent. Quite a good reader which is all that allowed me to finish the book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Alva Brough
  • 09-11-21

Enjoyed it but long-winded tale.

I found the indecisive and sometimes unbelievably foolish Chief Spy frustrating. Overall an interesting retelling of history.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Londonbusman
  • 09-19-21

SUPERB START TO A LONG RUNNING SERIES

This was the most absorbing novel I have read and listened to in a long time I am truly hooked and will enjoy the next 20 or so novels I’m sure

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  • GB
  • 05-21-22

Not sure

Coming to this series from Matthew Bartholomew’s tales of murder (set in 14th century), I found a similar mix of murder and intrigue, though on a more serious note it seems. It is not my favourite historical period in Britain but that’s exactly why I wanted to listen to it; Susanna Gregory bases her books on excellent historical research that I enjoy immensely and I know that this series won’t disappoint. Still, I miss her wry humour from Bartholomew’s books. As for the narration: articulate and excellent, the only thing for me was that the voice used to illustrate the male characters made them all appear to be in late age. The voice lacks strength for me, which becomes irksome after listening for a while. But it won’t stop me from continuing with the series!

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  • Bellscats
  • 03-30-22

Great author, good story, poor narrator

Susannah Gregory is a good storyteller so I've no reason to think this won't be as good as her other books. I'll know for sure if I get to the end. Currently I am having to grit my teeth to get past the narrator's really pedantic delivery. His reading recognises the puntuation but at the expense of the meaning. It is almost as if he is reading a language he doesn't speak.
I've written this now because I've just had an email suggesting the sequel for my next purchase. Sadly, not an option with the same narrator.

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  • V. Gill
  • 11-13-21

Disappointing

This was described as similar to Matthew Shardlake books, and there’s very little similarity. The story is weak, overlong and I found the reading boring. All voices sounded the same, making it difficult to determine who was talking.