Convicted of treason, Crispin Guest was stripped of his title, his land, his money and his friends. Now with only his considerable wits to sustain him, Guest works the mean streets of 14th century London, building a small reputation for his skill. In 1383, a simple-minded tavern girl comes to his door - a body was found where she works and she’s the only person who could have killed him. Except for the fact that the man was killed in place by a precisely aimed crossbow bolt. Making matters worse, the murdered man was one of three couriers from the French king, transporting a relic intended to smooth the troubled relations between France and England. Events quickly spin out of control and Guest now finds himself the prime suspect in the murder, one with terrible diplomatic implications. As the drumbeat of war between the two countries grow, Guest must unravel the con spiracy behind the murder to save not only his country, but himself as well.
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Excellent !! Excellent !! Excellent.
A little too much of everything?
In some ways, I enjoyed it. Crispin is an interesting and relatable character, and little Jack Tucker is such a dear. However, there are various 'holes' in the plot, execution and characterization that bring the rating down.
One of these is the excessive references to torture. Seriously, torture was banned under English common law, except in cases of heresy or treason, so I very much doubt it would have been used as often as the references to it in this story make out.
Also, the Americanisms stood out a lot more in this story, as well as some attitudes and beliefs of Crispin which did not seem to be 'of the time' at all. I understand the author wanted him to be skeptical about relics, but he's supposed to be a fourteenth century person, and the skepticism and irrelgious attitudes are too pervasive. I'm surprised he even believes in God at all.
Also, as other reviewers have pointed out, the story gets rather repetitive and a little implausible after a time. Its one of tose tales in which the author throws every adversity concievable and sometimes inconcievable at the protaganist, and the whole thing gets a bit too wrapped up in its own complexity. Dare I say, over the top?
Finally, as with the last book, the sex scene was not required. It came across as unecessary tittilation, and actually quite gross. The idea that someone in the circumstances Crispin was facing would just be thinking about sex with the nearest girl who offered was implausible enough, and made him look like an irredemadle lecher incapable incapapable of relating to persons of the opposite sex in the way normal people do on a daily basis, without wanting to get his clothes off.
Said girl's remark about 'looking for a shaft' in his trousers was really an image I did not need. The scene really lowered the tone of the whole story, and as such, I don't think I shall be listening to anymore audiobooks by this author anytime soon.
The narrator's performance was wonderful, his handling of the voices of different characters very good.
- Medieval Lady