Incendium is the first of two thrillers featuring Dr Christopher Radcliff, an intelligencer for the Earl of Leicester. It is set in London and Paris in 1572 at the time of the massacre of the Huguenots in France. 

“I loved the premise... the setting... the adventures and the politics.”

Of Beauty and Nothingness

“Beautifully evokes the grimy and filthy streets of Elizabethan London and the plot canters along from the very first page... I cannot wait for the next one!”


“I loved it! It was refreshing, engaging and never faltered from the first page to the last.”

A Rambling Reviewer

“beautifully done... with an intriguing range of characters... Christopher Radcliff is clearly destined to appear in future books, and I think he’s likely to gain some loyal fans.”

Historical Novel Society

“a really rich and beautifully written book... one of the best historical novels I’ve read in a long time, and if you’re a fan of Swanston’s other books, you’re going to absolutely love this!”

The Bibliophile Chronicles

“It was muscle tensing, edge of your seat sitting, stay up all night amazing”

Angel Wings and Petticoats

FREE SHORT STORY introducing Elizabethan academic and intelligencer Dr Christopher Radcliff, hero of the historical thriller, The Incendium Plot.

Cambridge on the morning of a day in April 1569, Christopher Radcliff, Doctor of Civil Laws at Pembroke Hall and recruiter of clever young men to the service of the Earl of Leicester, is amongst a crowd of excited townsfolk and university scholars gathered on a field to watch a game of foot ball. It is to be played between the apprentices of the town and pupils of the colleges and it is hoped it will reconcile differences between town and gown. Bets are placed, wagers made. On the field long-standing animosities surface and violence breaks out but not before the college team is victorious, thanks to the skill of a Pembroke Hall man, John Groom.

Later that day, Radcliff is summoned to the senior tutor’s rooms. It transpires that John Groom has been locked up on a serious charge of assault – he’d nearly caused a cobbler’s apprentice to drown. If found guilty, Groom would be expelled from college and face imprisonment. But Christopher smells a rat. He believes the charge to be the fabrication of someone with a serious grudge against the young man, and yet it does seem as if Groom is hiding something. Enlisting the help of his friend Edward Allingham and his wife Katherine, Dr Radcliff knows the truth lies somewhere within the infamous den that is Slegge’s gaming house…