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  • The Swift and the Harrier

  • By: Minette Walters
  • Narrated by: Emma Gregory
  • Length: 14 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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Summary

Dorset, 1642.

When bloody civil war breaks out between the king and Parliament, families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances.

A rare few choose neutrality.

One such is Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks.

Yet her recurring companion at every event is a man she should despise because he embraces civil war as the means to an end. She knows him as William Harrier but is ignorant about every other aspect of his life. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.

©2021 Minette Walters (P)2022 W F Howes

Critic reviews

"The Swift and the Harrier is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with a unique and unforgettable heroine at its heart. Both gripping and fascinating. The civil war in Dorset is evoked brilliantly, the characters are real and intriguing and the love story tender." (Elizabeth Buchan)

"I loved every moment of this brilliantly evocative saga of struggle, love and danger set against the horrors of civil war." (S W Perry, best-selling author of the Jackdaw Mysteries)

What listeners say about The Swift and the Harrier

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  • 13-11-21

Excellent

A very enjoyable read. Likeable characters that I missed when the book ended. Great narration. Well worth a credit.

6 people found this helpful

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Loved this book!

The one thing I’d say is at the beginning there is a grisly description of people being hung drawn and quartered - which I’m not sure was entirely necessary. Realising , I skipped it and don’t feel this harmed what was then a very good story…. Didn’t want it to end.

5 people found this helpful

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Great story about a little known period of history.

This was a really interesting book. It was set in the English Civil War, which is a period of history that I know very little about. The main character, Jane Swift, is a female physician, which was almost unheard of in the 17th century. The story relates to her experience of the war, and the difficulty of staying neutral when almost everyone else is taking sides. The medicine she practices is described in detail, which is fascinating. There is a satisfying love story in the midst of all the medical and social history. The narration is good, but, like other reviewers, I couldn’t really understand why the narrator had to adopt a very decided Dorset accent to tell the story. I got used to it, but initially it was rather irritating!

4 people found this helpful

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Another win for Walters

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel from the great Minette Walters. Having listened to and enjoyed all of Stella Rileys Roundheads and Cavalier series, which I highly recommend, I was interested to know how another author would draw the events and characters of the first English Civil War and I was not disappointed. I love the central characters of Jane and William and their independent journeys through this troubled period. This is a rather slow and ponderous novel and the Author takes the time to flesh out all of the characters we meet. An excellent read I highly recommend

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Feminist reimagining of history?

I struggled to finish because it felt too predictable. Jane is too perfect, William too stereotypical.

2 people found this helpful

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Atmospheric and enjoyable

Very different from other novels I've read by the author. An engaging story of the conflicts among families adhering to different sides in the Civil War that ended in the execution of Charles the First. The fictional characters come to life and their struggles draw one into the realities of the sufferings of war on both the soldiers and civilians. I enjoyed the book aided by an excellent narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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A brilliant listen

I loved it. A fantastic narrator, which brought to life a cracking story about such a significant period of our history.

2 people found this helpful

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Really enjoyed it

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. brilliantly researched and factually correct. Likeable characters. Narration was perfect. One of the most enjoyable audible books I have had.

2 people found this helpful

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Entertaining enough to stick with.

Strong female character always appreciated as was the attention to historical detail. The interplay between characters was a tad predictable , characters tended towards limiting stereotypes, overall entertaining enough, leaving reader with impression that the next chapters in the narrative will hold more challenge as social and political fallout play out.

2 people found this helpful

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Could not findih soo boring

Plodding and mondane, one dimentional characters that raised more questions than answers, with no explanation or clarification as to why they are the way they are or why they do what they do.

The story was boring and really didn't do anything for me, to the point where I can't even remember what it was about.

I gave up at around halfway, figuring, if it had not improved by this point then it probably won't any further.

1 person found this helpful