The Portuguese Affair (The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez Book 3)Ann Swinfen

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The third book in this marvelously crafted series finds Christoval/Kit part of an expedition being led by Francis Drake and John Norreys; the goals are to play havoc with what remains of the Spanish Navy after the defeat of The Armada and to place the rightful King of Portugal (rightful in the eyes of England) back on his throne.  From the outset, Kit is faced with disease, death, suffering and the very poor decisions made by the leaders of the force they command.  The author has once again published a story that while it is easy to read, is full of drama and excitement.  Imagine you are on a ship heading back to England, having had very little success in the mission and filled with the unwanted remnants of the conscript army with no food and only a little water.  The author places the reader alongside Kit making it possible to experience the untold misery; not only to the poor soldiers but to Kit’s over burdened mind.  There is much that Kit goes through that would have brought low many others.  A tale that has the reader turning the pages in anticipation of the twists and turns of the plot and in appreciation of an author with a great imagination and the wherewithal to put that imagination on paper.  It is also a tale that has the reader reaching for book four as the author has once again penned a last sentence full of mystery and foreboding.  5 stars

The Enterprise of England by Ann Swinfen

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Against the backdrop of Spain’s designs to conquer England, Kit Alvarez is once again called upon to assist Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham.  The Spanish are building an enormous navy and are positioning troops across the channel in The Netherlands.  A mission to Amsterdam to gather intelligence for Sir Francis finds Kit becoming ever more resourceful in this rather new and dangerous occupation.  Kit’s main occupation as a healer is also wonderfully depicted, from the everyday ills to the horrors of war made injuries, the author’s research shines through.  What I find so intriguing is the ability of the author to reel me into the story in such a way that any interruption of my reading is met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part.  Another intriguing facet is that Kit’s two life secrets remain intact, although one of them may be known to someone…someone with a lot of power.  4.7 stars   Oh yeah, I see a pattern developing as this second book in the series ends like the first; with a tantalizing last sentence.  🙂