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I love this series, and was thrilled to find that they decided to produce an audio edition of Blood Lance, but unfortunately they started out of sequence, but fortunately this novel can stand alone. Once again Jeri Westerson takes you there, to the mean streets of 14th century London. It is one of her strengths and it is one of the things I have come to respect about her writing.
In Blood Lance, Crispin (a disgraced knight, who is making his living as a tracker, aka sleuth,) is his usual self, a sucker for a pretty face and honorable to a fault. I don’t think I will be spoiling too much since Ms. Westerson has blogged about exploring PTSD within this story line, and I think she did a marvelous job showing that this could not have been a phenomenon of modern warfare.
Jack is back as Crispin’s mother hen, and side kick. I truly love their relationship. There are great twists and turns, and I thought I had everything figured out, but as usual the final twist proved me wrong. There is a great jousting sequence and I think it was very well imagined and written. Chaucer is back, and keeps you wondering just who he serves.
Michael Page is a wonderful narrator his character’s voices are distinct and easy to follow. 4.5 stars
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In this fifth book in the series, Crispin Guest is a little better off, Jack Tucker is his apprentice, and a baffling murder/suicide(?) open the story. Sir Thomas Saunfayl, a former friend from Crispin's days in the Duke of Lancaster's army, turns cowardly. He flees to England and seeks a religious relic, the Spear of Longinus, which was used to pierce Christ's side at his crucifixion. Saunfayl needs the spear to make him invincible when he undergoes trial by combat to avoid execution.
As usual there are twists and turns along the way, and the joust for the trial by combat is very effective. It reveals Crispin's integrity and Saunfayl's true character. The location of the spear is pretty ingenious.
The dangerous streets and neighborhoods, the palaces, and the cathedrals are as much characters as Crispin. There's a fun video of the series on the author's web page - check it out.
The historical notes at the end of each book reveal more information on the historical characters, the time, and the religious relics. There's an interesting comment on Saunfayl's cowardice as possible evidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The psychological side effects of war have been present throughout history. The disorder has just had different names in different wars.
I can't wait for the next book, Shadow of the Alchemist, which is currently scheduled for release 13 October.
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