Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cup of Blood by Jeri Westerson

First Sentence: Cold.

Disgraced knight Crispin Guest has taken to “finding things” for people in order to survive, earning him the sobriquet of “Tracker.” Young Jack Tucker is an orphan scrounging and picking pockets on the streets of London since he was 8 years old. Now, at age 11, his life, and hands, are saved by Guest, and Jack attaches himself to his rescuer after it is found that Jack’s “mark” is dead and Jack accused. When it appears the victim was a member of the Knights Templar. Suddenly Crispin has more business than anticipated with the Sheriff wanting him to find the killer, but a noblewoman wants him to find a piece of jewelry, and French and English monks also impressing him to work for them. Can Crispin and Jack survive long enough to sort out all the threads?

Westerson is a very good writer. Within pages, she presents us with humor, dread, suspense, action and sorrow. She truly brings to life a time harder, particularly for those who have nothing, than any of us can ever imagine.

Jack is an appealing character. He is a survivor, as it is the only choice he has other than death. While is faith is part of him, as it was for all people during the period, he also knows how to display it to his advantage. Jack may not be at all educated, but he is as street smart and observant as they come. Crispin has a harder exterior—understandable as we get to know his background—but one warms to him through his treatment of Jack. The two of them make a wonderfully appealing team.

Westerson educates us about an interesting period of history, but she does so in an unobtrusive fashion, never interrupting the story but greatly adding to it. The map, author’s afterward, and glossary were fascinating and very helpful. There is a very interesting conversation between Crispin and a priest, as well as Crispin’s subsequent thoughts.

This book is actually a prequel to the series. If one is new to the series, in spite of the publishing date, this is where one should begin. It is also a book for those who like action and excitement on the written page. It is also a mystery about a object that has fascinated people for centuries.

Cup of Blood” is a wonderfully visual book with some very powerful scenes; strong, tangible emotion, and plenty of really good twists right to the very end.

CUP OF BLOOD (Hist Mys-Crispin Guest/Jack-London-1384) – VG+
Westerson, Jeri – Series Prequel
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform – May 2014

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