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This is 2nd of an historical fiction series that was presented on audio in reverse order; but each book stands well on its own merit. Which says a lot for any book that is part of a series these days.
This is a believable historical portrayal of Richard I era England, accompanying delightful characterizations in an intriguing adventure / mystery. There is action, a smattering of sex, a good deal of philosophy about the concept of "honor" in people of both noble and ordinary birth, all without too much agonizing over ideas when they can be shown in the deeds of the characters, from lowest to highest in the social order. There is also a sample (a bit too much for my taste) of the torture of victims of the royal jail, albeit realistic for the times. But the characters win the day, especially the "disgraced" and former knight, Crispin Guest, and his child side-kick, Jack (who provides a charming "Greek chorus", while being a good foil for our hero).
Overall enjoyable enough to make me want to hear the entire series. And the most excellent reading of Michael Page carries me along into these stories nicely!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
If you like twists and turns in a plot, where the details matter, and things don't quite go where you expect, then pick up Serpent in the Thorns. You'll have to pay attention to the little things and don't forget to take some of them at face value. The story doubles back on itself, and some questions about Crispin's fall from knighthood are answered. Crispin and Jack are central, but pay attention to those around them. As the story unfolds you see some real character growth in Crispin and Jack. As for other characters, the sheriff plays a smaller part then in the first book, and Gaunt played a larger one. Richard as written is petty, vindictive, and throughly unlikable. It all wraps up in a really good ending. I'll be picking up the next one in the series soon.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Another entertaining saga that will keep you enthralled.
This Narrator is one of the best in the audio world helping to
capture the characters with aplomb & all makes for one of the
best audio books to keep you wanting more.
You will not be disappointed. Hundreds have reviewed these books saying they cannot drive the car, others have spent money on unnecessary petrol just to keep on listening & others cannot get their work done for listening & getting pulled into these stories. You can not get much better than that.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
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.
Would you ever listen to anything by Jeri Westerson again?
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.
What aspect of Michael Page’s performance might you have changed?
The narrator's performance was wonderful, his handling of the voices of different characters very good.