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To Kingdom Come: A Novel Paperback – February 7, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
Book 2 of 8 in the Barker and Llewelyn Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's May of 1884, and Scotland Yard has just been blown up, the latest attack in the Irish Republican Brotherhood's dynamiting campaign to force Home Rule. Young Welshman Thomas Llewelyn, apprentice to Scottish master detective Cyrus Barker, rushes to the scene of the crime with his mentor in this fast-paced, cleanly written follow-up to Some Danger Involved, Thomas's first historical crime novel featuring the intrepid duo. Despite the resistance of Scotland Yard's ineffective Special Irish Branch, Barker resolves to find and stop the radicals himself. His method: disguise and infiltration of the Fenian faction. Told from Llewelyn's keen and worshipful perspective, the tale traverses London and Europe and chronicles Barker and Llewelyn's undercover adventures and Barker's submersion in the character of German explosives expert Johannes van Rhyn. Llewelyn is brought into the thick of the action as van Rhyn's assistant, Thomas Penrith, an anarchist similarly skilled in bomb making. Together, they're initiated into the violent faction, called the Invincibles, while the younger double agent is enticed by the gorgeous redhead Maire O'Casey, sister of one of the terrorists. Can Llewelyn and Barker play along yet stop the Invincibles before they cripple the English government and bring down London's infrastructure? The action unfolds briskly, and Llewelyn's voice should appeal to boys of all ages.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Cyrus Barker, enquiry agent, and his increasingly able assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, attempt to stem terrorism and anarchy in Victoria's London in their second ingenious race toward certain calamity (after Some Danger Involved, 2004). This time the chameleon talents of the eccentric Pekinese-petting, tai chi-practicing "Guv'nor" are required to prevent Scotland Yard's new Special Irish Branch investigators from exacerbating an already flammable situation between the British Home Office and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Their mission: to infiltrate and expose the faction responsible for bombing Scotland Yard and threatening to do worse if a home-rule bill is not put before the Parliament. And what better way to do so than to pose as bomb-making specialists? The two spies step into increasingly volatile situations, including a painful stick-fight initiation ceremony, bomb-making sessions, and a tricky affair of the heart. Thomas places his cast of likable even heroic characters within a complex political minefield and then waits for the explosion. Intense and insightful. Jennifer Baker
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074327234X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743272346
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Will Thomas continues his winning streak in "To Kingdom Come," a wonderfully entertaining and well-researched mystery featuring Cyrus Barker and his young Welsh assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. Mr. Gladstone is the Prime Minister of England and the Irish are clamoring for Home Rule. A militant faction sets off a series of bombs, and an explosion blows out a piece of Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Division. Cyrus Barker, who is a Private Enquiry Agent, volunteers to locate and infiltrate the group responsible for the bombing. Reluctantly, Mr. Robert Anderson of the Home Office agrees to Barker's "mad scheme to hoodwink the Irish."

Cyrus Barker disguises himself as the reclusive Johannes van Rhyn, a German explosives expert. Barker uses his wide range of contacts to find the most militant of the Irish anarchists, known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and he feigns sympathy with their cause. As van Rhyn, Barker offers to help the Brotherhood build more effective and deadlier bombs. In the process, both Cyrus and Thomas risk their lives to prevent this desperate group from committing further acts of violence.

Will Thomas beautifully evokes the language, class distinctions, and political infighting of England in the late 1800's. It's all here, from Charles Parnell living the high life with his English mistress to William Butler Yeats writing poetry for Maire O'Casey, the sister of one of the anarchists. There is subtle humor, authentic atmosphere, colorful dialogue, a touch of romance, and an instructive history lesson about terrorism in Victorian England.

Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn are marvelous characters. Barker has a private chef prepare his gourmet meals, but he is willing to "live rough" when he is on a case.
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Format: Hardcover
An author's second novel is a very important thing. If his first was successful and/or critically acclaimed, the second proves whether the achievement of the first was a fluke. A reader can determine whether the things she liked about the first novel are truly characteristic of the author's style and intent.

I found "To Kingdom Come" a very satisfying book, because it confirmed to me my enthusiasm for "Some Danger Involved" and my hopes for the future of the Cyrus Barker-Thomas Llewelyn series were not misplaced. In "To Kingdom Come," Will Thomas has again taken the reasonably familiar setting of late-1800s London and then overlaid it with the more unfamiliar one of Irish revolutionaries and a sort of Celtic underground in London and Liverpool. Unlike the high-society, upper class murders so many mystery-writers build their London-themed mysteries around, Will Thomas seems to have a fascination with the foreign, the outsiders, and others whose blood is distinctly not blue. All this makes for refreshing stories that are both easy to settle in with (Cyrus Barker's London, after all, is Sherlock Holmes' too, chronologically speaking) and full of color and detail that are new and unfamiliar. Peeking ahead into the just-released third novel "The Limehouse Text," I see we have still more of this to look forward to.

Second novels, too, have the advantage that an author has already established the basic outlines of his characters, their personalities, backstories, and how they behave. "Some Danger Involved," naturally, was heavy on introducing us to Barker and Llewelyn, and the actual murder mystery had to share space with that. This is less necessary in "To Kingdom Come," and so we have more room to focus on the story itself.
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Format: Hardcover
In 1884 London Enquiry Agent Cyrus Baker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn are practicing martial arts exercises when they hear the explosion. Feeling they may be able to help, the two rush to the devastating scene of the Scotland Yard wing containing the newly formed Criminal Investigation Department Special Irish branch. As they assist the surgeon with field operations, the twosome learn of another bomb exploding at the Junior Carleton Club. The police brass at the Yard assumes both blasts were the work of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a radical group willing to murder innocent civilians to foster a free Irish state.

Inspector Poole informs Baker and Llewelyn that several other bombs were found before they ignited. Believing that the narrow focus on SIB is going to prove false, Baker quietly spreads the word that he and his associate are explosive experts to see who they can reel in. Not long afterward, the Invisibles want to employ them in a plan to explode London in TO KINGDOM COME.

The latest Baker Victorian mystery is a terrific historical tale that uses the bias between the Scotland Yard leadership and SIB to provide insight to the beginning of the Irish issue that still haunts the Isles. The efforts to uncover and stop the Invisibles are cleverly developed to provide a fabulous thriller, but also shed addition light on the late ninetieth century. Baker is a fine sleuth while his assistant who narrates the tale is his Watson except much more innocent in worldly affairs. There will be no doubting Thomas that this is one of the best historical series on the market today.

Harriet Klausner
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