Book Review: Sword of Shadows by Jeri Westerson

Sword of Shadows by Jeri Westerson

Publisher: Severn House

Date: 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Plot: London, 1396. A trip to the swordsmith shop for Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, and his apprentice Jack Tucker takes an unexpected turn when Crispin crosses paths with Carantok Teague, a Cornish treasure hunter. Carantok has a map he is convinced will lead him to the sword of Excalibur – a magnificent relic dating back to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table – and he wants Crispin to help him find it.

Travelling to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall with Carantok and Jack, Crispin is soon reunited with an old flame as he attempts to locate the legendary sword. But does Excalibur really exist, or is he on an impossible quest? When a body is discovered, Crispin’s search for treasure suddenly turns into a hunt for a dangerous killer.

*Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase

I received Sword of Shadows from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I read my first Jeri Westerson last year and fell in love with the charm of the books. Set in the 1300’s, this series follows the adventures of Crispin Guest, the “Tracker” of London who solves crimes and, more often than not, finds a mythical/mysterious artefact along the way.

Having loved the characterisations in Traitor’s Codex, I wanted to continue, even though I hadn’t started at the beginning. When Sword of Shadows became available to request, I jumped at the chance. What I didn’t realise, however, was this book was based around the hunt for Excalibur: it combined the historical fiction I love with one of my favourite myths. Perfect.

The plot is a little different this time: rather than solving a crime and accidentally discovering an artefact, Crispin and Jack are employed to help find Excalibur – and the murders along the way distract them. Given Crispin’s scepticism, it was fun seeing him get excited about the prospect of finding the sword and what it means to him personally given his past.

“I wouldn’t argue with Master Tucker, Carantok,” said Kat, scrupulously studying her nails. “He’s terribly protective of Master Guest. As am I.”

Crispin is a great character. He’s noble and dignified, despite no longer having claims to titles. Regardless of personal feelings, he’s determined to do the right thing, regardless of what that costs him. He can be stern and proper but at the same time, you see his massive heart: he cares deeply for Jack and his family and is always surprised when that love is returned.

I haven’t read all the books in the series to comment on previous relationships. But it was amusing seeing Crispin with his heart on the line: a casual marriage proposal reveals his longing for something more and despite his proper ways, he takes his pleasure when he can.

Jack remains my favourite. His loyalty to Crispin – even when he’s disapproving – and his determination to stay on the straight and narrow, regardless of what is thrown his way, is entertaining. Jack’s determination to be a good man is matched by his need to help his master – even if that means reverting to old tricks better forgotten.

This is a gripping and enjoyable read, albeit not one to necessarily get your heart racing. The mystery kept me guessing: obvious signs were misleading and the secondary characters were all eccentric enough it could have been anyone. Not to mention certain characters who are not what they seem – if they are even there at all.

I loved the hunt for the sword and all the potential hiding places. Throughout the entire novel, you’re guessing whether they will find it – and whether they should or it should be left in peace.

Sword of Shadows is a whirlwind of charm and suspense, mystery and love where a man’s worth isn’t measured in what he owns, but who he is. Crispin and Jack are a great literary duo, Crispin’s love interest provides sharp entertainment and his employer helps define how much of a good man Crispin is.

If you’re into historical fiction, this is a definite read.

Shelve it | Buy your own*

A Rambling Reviewer

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64 thoughts on “Book Review: Sword of Shadows by Jeri Westerson

  1. This sounds like such a good book to get stuck into! I loved your review, it was really engaging to read. I haven’t heard of this one before and it’s been a while since I read anything other than contemporary so it’s definitely one of the list.

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I really hope you like it if you get the chance to read it. It is part of a series but I haven’t read many of them but haven’t had a problem keeping up.

      Like

  2. I’ve never read a historical fiction before, but I am always open to discovering new genres! I love the message of the story that someone isn’t measured in what they own, but who they are instead. Mystery and suspense always make for great stories, I imagine it is a real page-turner! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lindsey and hope you are having a nice weekend ❤ xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very much into the crime/mystery/battle version of historical fiction rather than the romance side, but I love these ones. They’re just charming! Thank you -you too!

      Like

  3. This sounds weird, but I can just tell from the front cover this is the kinda book I’ll love (although they do say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, haha!) I love that you say it’s gripping, as I love a page-turning thriller x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but you’ve sold me on this one, the plot sounds like it moves at a good pace with great characters, I loved that it kept you guessing too. It sounds like a great read x

    Sophie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know this author but the plot sounds very much like something I’d pick up and enjoy. I love CJ Samson’s Matthew Shardlake series and Excalibur is one of my favourite myths/legends too – great review, I’ll be looking this one up, thank you! Lisa x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your review, Linsdey, and although historical fiction isn’t my genre of choice, I do love Jeri Westerson’s writing style. I’ve just finished reading her urban fantasy series – Booke of The Hidden – and really enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love stories that takes place during medieval times. It is great that the story explores the reality of what could have happened in the past with the given conditions. Glad you enjoyed the read overall. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    Liked by 1 person

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