Traitor's Codex

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

Of rogues and relics!

God's blood! A most favorite medieval oath in Crispin Guest novels. And oh my goodness, a sharp comment on this Crispin novel with surprises around every corner. 
I don't want to give anything away but the encounters dogging Crispin's progress are almost a catalogue of The Tracker's life until now.
Miraculous really!
So Crispin is having a drink at his favorite watering hole, the Boar's Tusk tavern when some unknown fellow leaves a parcel for him with the words, "You'll know what to do with it."
The roughly wrapped bundle is an ancient leather bound book written in an unknown language, although our Crspin has some clue. However as he goes about trying to have this codex deciphered, death dogs those individuals he involves. Powerful enemies are abroad! This relic, shrouded in secrecy, is attracting those who would destroy all knowledge of it. Crispin fears for the life of Jack Tucker's family, now his family. Crispin and Jack have added impetuous for solving the mystery. 
Added to this there seems to be a person abroad presenting himself to Londoners as The Tracker. This cannot be allowed to continue. Crispin's tracker reputation is all he has left and he guards it jealously.
Thinking back to the younger Crispin and contrasting him to the older more thoughtful, even wiser person he now is, rounds out the Crispin we all know and love, even when we are cross with him.
In many ways this story, apart from the mysteries involved, is a catalogue that points towards the emotional healing of Crispin. This more mature Crispin is a soothing balm.
I'm hoping for more resolution in this area in future works.

A Severn House ARC via NetGalley
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I have been a fan of Ms. Westerson’s Crispin Guest series since the first book. The latest book, Traitor’s Codex, continues this fine series. The characters are well developed, the plot lines are amazing and keep us guessing, and the historical details are very interesting. The main characters, Crispin and Jack keep growing. The case involves an ancient book with a major mystery. This book does not disappoint.
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I recently discovered the Tracker series and fell in love with it. This means I had high expectation and they were all met.
I love this historical mystery, its well written and fleshed out characters, the humour, and the well researched historical background.
The plot kept me hooked till the last page and the mystery was very good, full of twists and turns.
I look forward to reading the next installment in this series.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Severn House and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Jeri Westerson involves Crispin Guest in his twelfth investigation in the Traitor's Codex.  In this medieval mystery, Crispin must deal with a gnostic gospel of Judas which is given to him mysteriously.  Three literary experts consulted are murdered. Crispin is asked to find the murderers and harried by those who find the text heretical.  Meanwhile Queen Anne, King Richard's wife, dies and there are court intrigues.  Whodunit?  Intriguing noir story.
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Wow! Is that not the most intriguing blurb ever? That, and the very gorgeous cover, drew me in. And, it didn't even matter that this was the twelfth book in a series, which just proves the quality of the writing.

The story takes place, for the most part, in late 14th century London. Crispin Guest, a former knight is now living in The Shambles with his apprentice Jack Tucker and Jack's young family.

In his role as a tracker now (a detective in modern parlance), Crispin is used to handling odd cases, but not of the sort that is dropped on his table in the Boar's Tusk Tavern. He takes the mysterious parcel home and unwraps it to find an old book written in a language he cannot decipher.

He seeks out those he hopes can identify the book and its language, and while he succeeds in that, the repercussions for those who aid him are fatal. Now he knows the book is a missing Gospel - the Judas Gospel - and one which the Catholic Church deems as "dangerous" and therefore must be destroyed. There are those amongst the shadows who wish to relieve him of the book, but they have seriously underestimated Crispin if they believe he will simply hand it over.

As Crispin endeavours to keep the book safe, in the hope of returning it to its rightful owner, other events - besides those intent on doing him harm if he holds on to the book - distract him. The three men who helped him out earlier are murdered, there's an impostor posing as him and putting his reputation at risk, and he is drawn back into the court of King Richard II when the Queen dies. Having been banished years before, this move puts his life in danger but he cannot stay away.

With all this going on, the author still adds depth to Crispin's life outside of his job. Firstly, with details of his lost love and the young son he cannot acknowledge, then with an insight into his past life at court and his bond with Lancaster, and finally with his acceptance of his current status and the role that Jack and his family play in bringing him peace and joy despite his less affluent lifestyle.

This story comes across as atmospheric and authentic in its historical setting, and compelling and intriguing as a mystery. Despite there being much of Crispin's past that has been dealt with in previous books of the series, this can be read easily as a standalone story. That said, I am sorely tempted to delve into earlier books and learn more of Crispin's fascinating history.

A very different kind of mystery, both enchanting and tense with wonderful, lively characters and a hefty dose of medieval history and setting.
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This is not the first book I have read by this author, but it is the first of the Crispin Guess series. When a stranger leaves a wrapped package on the table where he is drinking his ale with a note that tells him that he will know what to do with it, he knows who to take it to. Crispin realizes that it is ancient and in a language he doesn't understand. He and his apprentice take the Codex to a rabbi who is hidden. What is in this mysterious package? It appears to bet a book from the Gospel of Judas from the Holy Land. It questions the very doctrine of Christianity. He doesn't know who gave  him the book or why but he is now mixed up into a plot with deadly consequences.. It''s not just one problem but it has murder, saints that are still living and murderous henchmen. If this book falls into the wrong hands, it will be disastrous. This is a book that you will not want to put down until you finish it. I will be reading the rest of the series. Well written and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I received this book from Net Galley and Severn House Publishers for a honest review. I voluntarily read this book.
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In 1394 Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, is minding his own business at a local tavern when a strange man hands him a wrapped package and then disappears. The man tells Crispin not to open the package in public and that he will know what to do with it. Crispin hurries home, opens the package and finds a very old book. The cover appears newer, but the pages seem to be extremely old. Stranger still, the text is written in a language Crispin does not recognize. Crispin does have a love for books, so he makes his way to a bookseller for help. The bookseller confirms what Crispin already believes ... newer cover, very old pages made of papyrus. The bookseller thinks the text is written in Coptic and sends Crispin to another man for help. The second man sends Crispin to a barber who is able to translate the book. And what Crispin learns is terribly unsettling, both to him and could also be to the doctrine of the Christian church if this book falls into the wrong hands. It appears this is a copy of the Gospel of Judas. Crispin soon finds himself in the middle of three murders ... the three men he visited with this disturbing book. Being a Tracker, he sets out to find the murderer. But others are interested in this book as well, and Crispin finds himself in peril more than once. Can he track down the killers, and what is he to do with this blasphemous book?

TRAITOR'S CODEX in the eleventh book in Jeri Westerson's A Crispin Guest Mystery series. Though I have not had the pleasure of reading any of the other books in this series, Ms. Westerson does an excellent job of relating the backstory about Crispin and some of his adventures as a Tracker (like a private investigator). There is non-stop action and adventure in this thrilling mystery. Events move in a rapid-fire manner for such a historical time frame. Crispin is a strong main character with a cadre of equally strong and diverse supporting characters. Ms. Westerson ties in just enough actual historical and Biblical reality with this exciting story to keep you turning pages for more.

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It took me a bit to get into 'The Traitor's Codex', not being previously aware of the earlier books in the Crispin Guest series. Crispin used to be a titled noble who fell from grace and was nearly executed for treason. Now, he lives with the common people and his former servant-cum-apprentice and his family as the Tracker of London; righting wrongs, protecting the innocent and, apparently hunting down mysterious artifacts like a medieval, slightly more religious Indiana Jones. It was an interesting enough story, but I probably wouldn't get it for myself or someone else. It's not bad, more just lackluster. 

I was given a free copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The release of a new book in the Crispin Guest series is cause for celebration in my home.  I know that once I sit down with the book, I will have time for little else until I have read the last page.  

As Crispin sits in a tavern with his ale, he is approached by a stranger who hands him a package, requesting that he not open it until he is alone.  The package contains a book in a language that neither Crispin nor his apprentice Jack Tucker can decipher.  When he consults a bookseller he is referred to a scholar and finally to a rabbi who identifies the language as Coptic.  A translation reveals that it is the Judas Gospel.  Ther are those in the church who will do whatever it takes to see this codex destroyed..  Crispin is half tempted to burn it, but the book was entrusted to his care until it can be passed to its’ proper owner.  

John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster who raised Crispin, also asks for his help.  Queen Anne has died suddenly and he needs Crispin to determine if it was a natural death or murder.  Once a knight who was accused with treason and banned from court, his return to Westminster palace could mean his death if he is discovered.  There is also an impostor who has been using his identity as the Tracker of London.  The man is staging rescues and extorting large fees for his services.  Crispin is a man of honor and the impostor must be stopped.  When someone begins killing people connected to the codex, Crispin sends Jack’s wife and children into hiding for their protection.  While his time has been divided between his investigations, his priority is family and finding a solution for th fat of the codex to keep them safe.  

Jeri Westerson makes London in the 1300s come alive.  As Crispin travels the alleys of the Shambles and the corridors of Westminster Palace she evokes the sights and sounds of old London.  This is an example of historical fiction at its best.
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First of all, my thanks to Severn House and NetGalley, who provided a digital ARC in return for my honest opinion.

This is a very well written series, with great character development over the course of 12 titles. We've seen Crispin Guest go from an embittered, impoverished former knight, convicted of treason and yet miraculously NOT executed, to a man largely at peace with his place in the world. Crispin has formed a new family for himself, -- his apprentice, Jack, now a grown man with a wife and children of his own. In The Traitor's Codex, Crispin in once more in temporary possession of a religious object of sorts, the Gospel of Judas. England is in a time of religious upheaval, with a group called Lollards challenging the status quo of the established (Roman Catholic) church, and a possible "new" gospel, especially one contesting the teaching of the existing gospels, is a danger to those who come into contact with it. A very quick read with, to me at least, a satisfactory ending!
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4 stars

Into Crispin Guest's hands falls a very old book, recently re-covered but the pages are written on papyrus. It is the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. It challenges and contradicts (in some ways) the current understanding of Christianity. Crispin suspects that he should destroy the book, but it does not belong to him – and he loves books. What to do?

It is a time of religious upheaval in England. The up and coming Protestants are rallying for followers amongst the citizenry – especially a group called the Lollards. The Catholic Church, and  King Richard, are incensed at what they see as heresy. 

When Crispin is attacked in the street, the tension in an already tense story ratchets up. Then a trail of murdered men follow in Crispin's wake. The people he spoke to about the book are being killed. 

While traveling from place to place in search of the killers of his acquaintances, he and his apprentice Jack solve several and varied crimes. He is ushered into King Richard's presence and accused of a plot to murder Richard's queen. He gets away on the strength of his past friendship with the king. Crispin is finally pressured into promising to turn the book over to a nefarious Bishop. Will he go through with it? Will he sove the mysterious identity of the man who gave him the book? Will he and Jack get out of this sticky situation alive? 

This book is very well written in Jeri Westerson's usual style. The premise is most interesting, especially given the era in which it is set. While perhaps not so controversial in today's world, it was virtually explosive and heretical back then.  Anyone caught in possession of such a book could be burned at the stake. The novel is written in a casual easy-to-read linear style. I enjoy these Crispin Guest novels. Not only are they exciting, but they give the reader a glimpse into life – both the wealthy and the poor – in England at the time. I am awaiting the release of the next Crispin novel.

I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House/Severn House Publishers for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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This is a wonderful brew of genres—murder mystery and irreverent religious thriller—that is sure to titillate readers in search of A captivating , intelligent theological tale deftly composed 
 And well researched that has both literary action and philosophical stimulation.”
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A good entry into the Crispin guest mystery series. I found the mystery interesting and the characters well written can t wait for the next one
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What a enjoyable character, this Crispin Guest! This was the first book I read in this series, but I had no trouble at all to get to know Crispin and his extended 'family'.
Sometimes it is hard for a modern human being to realize how utterly important written texts were in a time when only a very small part of the population could read and write.
Did Judas really write the book Crispin so unexpectedly receives? What are the consequences? Crispin has to use all his wits to try and take the right decisions.
A nice read with entertaining characters and good atmospheric details.

Thanks to NetGally for this digital copy.
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Crispin Guest is a conflicted man.  Born into the noble class, but branded a traitor and forced to work for his living as a tracker, a detective of sorts.  The story flows smoothly.
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This is a very enjoyable fast paced book.  Although it can be read as a stand alone, I wish I had read the previous 6 books. Crispin Guest had been a respected knight in the service of John of Gaunt but fell from grace for taking part in a treasonous plot to overthrow Richard II.  In this book, he is impoverished, but surviving by helping solve crimes.  He is unexpectedly given an old book written in an unknown cipher.  As he asks scholars for help, they are each murdered.

If historical murder mysteries, particularly those set in the 14th century are your genre, start at the beginning and enjoy them all in order; you won't be disappointed.
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Really enjoyed this book, was interesting to read a mystery set in the 14th century.

I didn't realise until after I had finished the book that there were 10 in the series, but although there were references to previous books, it didn't hinder the story at all.

The main protagonist, Crispin Guest, is given a book which after investigating he discovers is a missing Gospel, which the Catholic Church needs to have eradicated.

A fascinating read and recommended
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When I started reading Traitor's Codex by Jeri Westerson I had no idea this was a series and that this book is not the first one. But despite the many references to prevoius books I found myself enjoying the story. And now I will have to read the others to find out what happened to Crispin Guest to land him there.

I don't usually read historical fictions but the book's description seemed interesting. I love stories which centers on books. 

I received a copy of this book from Severn House Publishers throug Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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I kept waiting for the story to build in suspense and to have the Judas Gospel explained in depth. Nada. Didn't happen. I was terribly disappointed to have read to the very end.. and it was only in the author's notes that I actually got some of what I was waiting to read about within the story.
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Another outing for Crispin Guest, The Tracker of London. In this adventure, Crispin is given a dangerous codex which threatens the dogma of the Church. 

As usual, the depiction of the characters makes them believable, three-dimensional individuals. As Crispin has grown more accepting of his fall from grace, his character has evolved and his life has developed in positive ways. In Traitor's Codex, Crispin once again must confront Richard II with more understanding on the parts of both men.

Westerson's research is wide-ranging and thorough, weaving both real personages and fictional characters skillfully through a series of mysteries in which Crispin is engaged to solve various crimes. 

Dame Julian of Norwich, the famous medieval anchorite and one of my favorite historical figures--"all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well"--makes an appearance in the current mystery. Other historical figures who often appear include John of Gaunt and Chaucer--two more favorite historical characters.

Each book in this series, designated as Medieval Noir, presents an intriguing mystery with fascinating historical elements, and I have enjoyed them all.

Read in January; blog review scheduled for May 22.

NetGalley/Severn House
Historical Mystery/Medieval Noir. June 1, 2019. Print length: 224 pages.
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