The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood: The Spy Who Stole the Crown Jewels and Became the King’s Secret Agent

Robert Hutchinson. Pegasus, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-68177-144-1
British historian Hutchinson (Young Henry) successfully describes how phenomenal self-preservation instincts and a highly unstable royal court allowed a man who stole the crown to become a royal spy. After the upheaval surrounding the 1660 restoration of Charles II cost the Blood family their Irish land, Thomas Blood, a former parliamentary soldier, channeled his bitterness into a long career of trying to recapture his holdings, or barring that, to cause financial and emotional damage to the king. Hutchinson relishes detailing Blood’s motivation and the unlikely adventures that boosted his popularity while also deciphering his elastic personal ethics. Blood’s personality is largely conveyed through his close relationships with his children as well as his dedication to heightening his reputation, which resulted in popular songs and poems being composed about him. The book’s highlight is the well-planned, if comically implemented, heist of the crown jewels. Hutchinson’s story operates more as a series of vignettes than as a fully fleshed-out biography, but Blood’s remarkable tenacity shines through, illuminating a surprisingly efficient official spy ring and a wealth of other dark secrets behind the flamboyant and seemingly carefree court of the Merry Monarch. Illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-297-87018-0
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-297-87020-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-1942-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-1941-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-1940-7
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-68177-186-1
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-68177-422-0
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