I will begin with the one good quality I saw in this purchase—the plot is reasonable. Nevertheless, I had to force myself to continue listening to dis..Show More »cover the outcome. There are two things I found so infuriating about the book that I was tempted many time to give up listening. Together the writing and the performance made me wonder at times whether I had bought a Monty Python spoof of a medieval crime story. The author's biography suggests that she grew up with an interest in medieval history. Unfortunately, that interest did not seem to extend to knowing how people spoke at the time and the words they used. And, it is not just the anachronistic words but the strange use of common words. For example, a "trill" ran through the protagonist at one point; so I assume that a person or bird was trilling very loudly indeed nearby. The romantic thread to the story reads as if it was written by a student of teenage romance comics. A benefit if you like a character's emotional life to be, at most, one dimensional. If you are looking for a male lead with some complexity of emotional response I don't feel that you will find it in this book. It seems to me that in contemporary cops shows we hear a detective/cop/vigilante say so often to a suspect "we can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way" that it has become a cliché. So, it was comforting to hear the hero—a disgraced knight now commoner—saying this to one of the villains.At least I now understood I was hearing a professional crime fighter at work. Mentioning that the hero was a disgraced knight, very bitter about his lot, leads to discussing the performance. The knight is interpreted by the performer as shouting everything through clenched teeth which, I imagine, lets us know that he is both tough and bitter. Occasionally, the constrained shouting takes on an added edge of hysteria and that, at least, adds some variation. Another character, the Sheriff, who seems to be a large and dominant person much taken to cuffing and bashing the hero, is performed with a strange lisp which is neither evil nor interesting. He sounds like a parody of a not quite upper class Englishman. The performer does the other characters quite well. That is, if you accept that all medieval Italians (the bad guys) sound like the faux Italian waiter at the local Pizza joint. I will not be spending my Audible tokens on any more of Ms Waterson's books.
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..Show More » 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!
This series just keeps getting better. I didn't realize that the Edict of Expulsion issued in 1290 banished Jews from England over usury. Jews could o..Show More »nly stay if they converted to Christianity , but many still worshipped in private. Oliver Cromwell overturned the Edict in 1657.
This time the hunt is on for missing parchments written in Hebrew. Young boys are being murdered and mutilated, possibly by a monster who was created using the missing parchments.
I love this series. As usual, Michael Page does a fine job narrating.
In this fourth book in the series, Crispin Guest and his apprentice, Jack Tucker, travel to Canterbury at the request of the Archbishop. This time th..Show More »e bones of Thomas a Beckett go missing, people start dropping like flies, and The Tracker (aka Crispin Guest) is on the hunt. But who is friend and who is foe? Another entertaining mystery in this medieval noir series set in the 1380s.
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 seque..Show More »nce, 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