Blood Lance by Jeri Westerson (Minotaur Books) is a medieval noir novel staring her protagonist Crispin Guest.
You may have followed Crispin Guest, known as the Tracker, throughout Westerson’s four prior medieval noir novels: Vail of Lies, Serpent in the Thornes, The Demon’s Parchment, and Troubled Bones, or this might be the first novel read in the series. Either way, you’re in for a great story with a stellar cast of characters set in 1386 in London as Westerson skillfully weaves a tale of murder, deceit, and treachery.
Crispin Guest has lost his standing as a knight and now survives as the bottom of the rung. But he longs to return to where he belongs. This theme is shown throughout the novel as he continues to show the powerful in King Richard’s court what they’ve lost by banishing him from court.
The 32-year-old Guest is a flawed hero which is why the reader loves him. He’s has an apprentice (Jack Tucker) he’s rescued from a life of crime and is turning into a future Tracker. And when a woman is involved in one of Guest’s cases, he’s sure to fall in love or lust.
There is even an ongoing element of comedy in the characters of the Sheriffs Staudon and More who follow Guest about, trying to gain solutions of crimes and how-to methods from the famous Tracker, much to his disgust.
The plot of Blood Lance has to do with a relic (the Spear of Loginus – pierced the side of Christ on the cross) that gives man the ability to survive all attempts against his life. Of course, all of the knights at King Richard’s court want the relic, as does Spain. However, one knight is quicker on the draw to make it his, Crispin's old friend Sir Thomas Saunfayl.
Multiple murders, deception by clever villains, and murderers all bring the value of the relic to light and escape with the goods without capture.
If historical mysteries are your thing, or Crispin Guest your constant medieval hero, Blood Lance is not to be missed.
Reviewed by L. M. Quinn, August 16, 2012