Cup of Blood

Written by Jeri Westerson
Review by John H. Manhold

Crispin Guest, the main character of this novel set in medieval England, is a disgraced knight who has been banished from court for treason against King Richard II. Highly intelligent, he now survives as a ‘Tracker,’ having made a reputation by finding lost objects/persons for a fee. When a corpse is discovered in Crispin’s favorite tavern, he is not only hired by the sheriff to find the murderer, but is also commissioned by a number of other people  at greater compensation if he succeeds and the cost of his life if he fails.

The plot can be convoluted, involving not only Crispin’s former betrothed but also her brother, a sensual courtesan, a young cutpurse, a priest, shadowy members of the believed-to-be-extinct Order of Knights Templar, and henchmen of the anti-Pope in Avignon. The author creates a provocative tale out of all this, one with an involved plot and an unexpected climax.