I’m venturing into a completely new author this time, and I fell in love. Westerson creates a historical mystery full of charm and fantastic characters that swept me away. It didn’t matter that my first was several books into the series (this is book 12!), I soon figured it out, and now want to read the rest. Check out my review on Traitor’s Codex.
Publisher: Severn House | Date: 2019 | Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Plot: Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, is enjoying his ale in the Boar’s Tusk tavern – until a stranger leaves a mysterious wrapped bundle on his table, telling him, “You’ll know what to do.” Inside is an ancient leather-bound book written in an unrecognizable language. Accompanied by his apprentice, Jack Tucker, Crispin takes the unknown codex to a hidden rabbi, where they make a shocking discovery: it is the Gospel of Judas from the Holy Land, and its contents challenge the very doctrine of Christianity itself.
Crispin is soon drawn into a deadly maze involving murder, living saints, and lethal henchmen. Why was he given the blasphemous book, and what should he do with it? A series of horrific events confirm his fears that there are powerful men who want it – and who will stop at nothing to see it destroyed.
I received Traitor’s Codex from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Traitor’s Codex Review
One of the things I love about Netgalley is the introduction of new authors. Traitor’s Codex by Jeri Westerson is the 12th in a series. I didn’t know this when I requested it, or when I started reading it. Thankfully, it can be read as a stand-alone – there are a few references going back to earlier books, but I still got to know the characters and never felt lost.
Now, however, I fully plan on tracking down the other books and going from the beginning. There was an element of complete charm throughout the entire book. Set in the 1300’s, the most insulting thing they could throw at each other was “knave”. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!
Crispin Guest is a man with a haunted past (one you no doubt see unfold in previous books). He has made his peace with his lot in life though and is learning to enjoy the simple pleasures and being grateful for what he has. Crispin is determined, stubborn and loyal in his own way. Uncomfortable at expressing his emotions, he has other ways of telling those he loves that he cares.
There are several great characters! Jack Tucker is the main reason I want to read the rest of the books: I’d love to see his development into the loyal servant/apprentice he is now. He doesn’t hide how he feels and will protect his master, no matter what. The Duke of Lancaster is also an intriguing character; there is definitely a long, complicated and emotional history between him and Crispin and I’d love to know more.
If a character can get under your skin enough that you want to backtrack through an entire series to see how they started, it definitely shows you connected with them on a personal level.
“What have you got yourself into, Crispin?” said Lancaster with a frown.
“Too much… as usual, my lord.”
This book is mainly a mystery, but it is so much more than that. A strange book comes into Crispin Guest’s possession, and with it comes turmoil, murder and impersonations. Learning the truth could be dangerous, for him and those he cares about, but it was given to him for a reason and he must know what it is.
But underneath the mystery, this is a story of character relationships, forgiveness and love. The father/son, mentor/ward relationships found scattered throughout were perfectly portrayed. They weren’t over-emotional, but a blend of banter and teasing: Crispin throwing a spoon at Jack because he can’t handle the praise that he’s a good master; Lancaster almost pushing Crispin off a chair through a teasing shove… It’s not all fun and games, but I read the majority of this book with a grin on my face.
This is the first I’ve read set in this era, so I have no idea about accuracy etc. But what I can say is that this is a gentle, quick read that keeps you hooked and makes you fall in love with the characters. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Now for the rest of the series..!
Have you read anything set in this era? Does it sound like your kind of thing?
Also in the series:
- # 13: Sword of Shadows