Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters

The Swift and the Harrier

by Minette Walters

The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters X
The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2022, 500 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2023, 522 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Maria Katsulos
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A sweeping historical adventure set during one of the most turbulent periods of British history--featuring a heroine you'll never forget...

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.

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.

1642

The English Civil War begins on 22 August when
King Charles raises his standard at Nottingham.
Three days earlier, a Catholic priest is executed
in Dorset for treason.

ONE

DORCHESTER, DORSET, 19 AUGUST 1642

As the hour for the priests' execution approached, the press of people heading for Gallows Hill grew denser and more impatient. Jayne Swift had expected crowds, but not such a multitude as this. It seemed every Puritan in Dorset had come to gloat at the spectacle of Catholics being hanged, drawn, and quartered, because there wasn't a road or street in Dorchester that wasn't thronged with hard-faced men and women, their eyes aglitter in anticipation of papist blood being spilt.

Jayne's only means of making headway against the tide was to stay close to the fronts of houses and try to move forward each time there was a gap, but she was attracting unwelcome attention by doing so. She made the decision to retreat into a doorway and wait for the crush to subside after a man rounded ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Walters presents her readers with many examples of brave women who, in their own ways, fight in the war. The male character whose bravery Walters focuses on the most is William Harrier, who of course forms the latter half of the titular duo with Jayne. Though their interactions seem too few and infrequent to generate the kind of relationship that develops between them by the end of the novel, the intensity of their similarities (their shared desire for independence, change and equality) certainly forms a strong basis for romantic attachment. However, I would not categorize The Swift and the Harrier as a romance. Walters really prioritizes the individual journeys of her characters — not just those of Jayne and William, but of their families and friends — and I found this to be a refreshing departure from the popular historical romance currently on the market...continued

Full Review (634 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Maria Katsulos).

Media Reviews

Good Housekeeping
This well-researched, atmospheric tale is as gripping as any of her thrillers.

The Times (UK)
Minette Walters, a stalwart of crime fiction, is excellent on the horrors of civil war in Dorset, and Swift is a memorable and spirited…heroine.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Walters draws wonderfully on her crime-writing skills...[and] takes us through the years of this devastating war and shows its effects on the towns and villages of Dorsetshire. Her expositions on English history might make some readers impatient for action, but they provide much-needed context for a crisis that divided English society and viciously turned citizens against each other in a way that feels strangely familiar now. This well-researched novel of 17th-century warfare shows the perils and rewards of sticking to one's principles.

Library Journal (starred review)
Endearing characters spark life into centuries-old history in Walters's latest, which will appeal to fans of Philippa Gregory, Margaret George, and Sharon Kay Penman.

Author Blurb S. W. Perry, bestselling author of the Jackdaw Mysteries
I loved every moment of this brilliantly evocative saga of struggle, love, and danger set against the horrors of civil war.

Reader Reviews

CarolT

Enthralling
I knew nothing about the English Civil War other than it ended with the beheading of King Charles I. Walters puts an interesting twist on it.
Mahendar

The swift and the harrier
Very good and fabulous. Love it.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Larval Therapy

Maggots for larval therapy in plastic bag alongside measuring tube For a novel that focuses on a physician during an incredibly bloody war, The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters is generally not too explicit in describing the treatment of wounds. The passage below is an exception; when main character Jayne's brother suffers a pike wound to the thigh that soon becomes infected, her mentor suggests what we now call larval therapy: the introduction of maggots to gangrenous wounds. While certainly gross enough to disgust most modern readers — and seemingly very far removed from our own times — larval therapy, which has existed in some form or another since antiquity (and still does), is a fascinating phenomenon and indicative in the above passage of a change sweeping European medicine in ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Swift and the Harrier, try these:

  • Essex Dogs jacket

    Essex Dogs

    by Dan Jones

    Published 2023

    About this book

    More by this author

    The New York Times bestselling historian makes his historical fiction debut with an explosive novel set during the Hundred Years' War.

  • Act of Oblivion jacket

    Act of Oblivion

    by Robert Harris

    Published 2023

    About this book

    More by this author

    From the bestselling author of Fatherland, The Ghostwriter, Munich, and Conclave comes this spellbinding historical novel that brilliantly imagines one of the greatest manhunts in history: the search for two Englishmen involved in the killing of King Charles I and the implacable foe on their trail - an epic journey into the wilds of seventeenth-...

We have 6 read-alikes for The Swift and the Harrier, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Minette Walters
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Big Time
    Big Time
    by Ben H. Winters
    Big Time, the latest offering from prolific novelist and screenwriter Ben H. Winters, is as ...
  • Book Jacket: Becoming Madam Secretary
    Becoming Madam Secretary
    by Stephanie Dray
    Our First Impressions reviewers enjoyed reading about Frances Perkins, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Bloodcarver
    The Last Bloodcarver
    by Vanessa Le
    The city-state of Theumas is a gleaming metropolis of advanced technology and innovation where the ...
  • Book Jacket: Say Hello to My Little Friend
    Say Hello to My Little Friend
    by Jennine CapĂł Crucet
    Twenty-year-old Ismael Reyes is making a living in Miami as an impersonator of the rapper/singer ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Half a Cup of Sand and Sky
by Nadine Bjursten
A poignant portrayal of a woman's quest for love and belonging amid political turmoil.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The House on Biscayne Bay
    by Chanel Cleeton

    As death stalks a gothic mansion in Miami, the lives of two women intertwine as the past and present collide.

  • Book Jacket

    The Stone Home
    by Crystal Hana Kim

    A moving family drama and coming-of-age story revealing a dark corner of South Korean history.

Win This Book
Win The Funeral Cryer

The Funeral Cryer by Wenyan Lu

Debut novelist Wenyan Lu brings us this witty yet profound story about one woman's midlife reawakening in contemporary rural China.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

M as A H

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.