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Another Great Crispin Guest Adventure,
This review is from: Troubled Bones: A Medieval Noir (The Crispin Guest Novels) (Hardcover)
Crispin's reputation as "The Tracker" has grown and he is required by the Archbishop of Canterbury to protect the bones of martyred Saint Thomas Beckett. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket had been murdered in the cathedral that now holds his bones, but there is suspicion that the bones are going to be stolen by a group that is looking to undermine the Catholic church. Crispin is to protect the bones which bring in money from pilgrims and find if one of the heretics is actually part of the monastery. This job requires Crispin to face people who remember him being disgraced as a traitor and even his old friend Geoffery Chaucer.
The very first night on duty, a prioress is murdered in one of the chapels in the Cathedral, the exact same place Beckett was slain, and Crispin is knocked unconscious. A young nun was present in the chapel with the Prioress at the time of the murder and is traumatized. Crispin's young apprentice Jack gets his first crush on the young nun complicating matters.
Another murder occurs that seems completely unrelated which throws a curve that keeps the reader guessing. Of course, it could be the curse that Jack learns about during his undercover stint in the monastery. But the clock is ticking when Chaucer is unexpectedly jailed by the archbishop for the murders and Crispin only has hours to clear his name.
Crispin has his hands full and confronting his past is an added challenge. The Archbishop and Chaucer are catalysts in Crispin's internal struggles with his past that demonstrate what kind of man he has become since he was stripped of his knighthood. He has changed a lot and the reader suspects, for the better.
Young Jack is growing up and we get a chapter from his perspective as he goes undercover at the monastery. This was a great touch and I appreciate Jack's character even more now. Chaucer was unpredictable and added a touch of mystery. There is a woman that catches Crispin's fancy as well. Some moments of humor lighten an intense plot.
The plot has a few twists and the connection between the two murders is not obvious. The attention to period detail is integrated smoothly and immerses you. The confrontation with the killer is suspenseful and the wrap up was quite satisfying with an added surprise. Crispin continues to develop and grow. This series keeps improving and the character of Crispin transcends time with the motivations and political intrigue that are no less in play today. Excellent series that makes history exciting and even cool and this book is a stellar addition.
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