Crispin Guest has solved many mysteries since losing his knighthood and becoming “The Tracker”, an investigator for hire in fourteenth century London. Yet when he witnesses a body fall from London bridge into the frigid waters of the Thames, he finds himself in the middle of a dangerous and complicated puzzle.
The deceased was an armorer whose death officials rule to be a suicide, but Guest immediately sees evidence of foul play. During his investigation he runs into Sir Thomas Saunfayl, an old acquaintance from his knighthood days, frantically searching for the armorer. It seems the dead man was bargaining with Sir Thomas for the Spear of Longinus, the weapon used to pierce the side of Christ on the Cross, which grants invincibility to its owner. After his friend Geoffrey Chaucer arrives in London, all too eager to help find the spear and conduct clandestine meetings with powerful figures, Guest soon finds himself trying to solve a conundrum of many parts, all centered around the same dangerous and potent holy relic. With the spear now missing and more murders occurring, Guest, together with his loyal apprentice Jack, must use his sharp wiles to find it and piece together the truth in a world of political intrigue, treachery, and murder.
With evocative period detail and an unforgettable cast of characters, Blood Lance is the exhilarating fifth volume in the Crispin Guest medieval noir mystery series. It was one of the “Top 10 Hot Crime Novels” for Fall 2012 selection at Kirkus Reviews.
Clever twists and convincing period detail make Westerson's fifth 14th-century historical featuring disgraced knight Crispin Guest (after 2011's Troubled Bones) one of her best, though she's not yet at the top level of the medieval subgenre. After a successful battle against some thuggish members of the London Watch, Guest sees a man plunge into the Thames from the upper story of a house on London Bridge. Without hesitation, the sleuth dives in after him, only to find that the man is already dead. Guest is skeptical of claims that the deceased, identified as armorer Roger Grey, took his own life, especially after Grey's two apprentices disappear. Sir Thomas Saunfayl, a former comrade-in-arms of Guest, paid Grey a great deal of money to fashion a relic "suitable for a knight" that's now missing, and he hires Guest to recover it. The quest for the relic leads inexorably to the surprising truth about Grey's death.