Friday, June 5, 2020

Review: Sword of Shadows by Jeri Westerson

Sword of Shadows (Crispin guest Medieval Noir, Book #13)
by Jeri Westerson
Release Date: April 7th 2020
2020 Severn House Publishers
ARC Kindle: 224 Pages
ISBN: 978-0727889218
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Revew copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
Sword of Shadows is the thirteenth in the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir mystery series and I will be perfectly honest in saying that it was my least favourite Crispin Guest novel so far.  I have been following this series since the first book, Veil of Lies, was published back in 2008 and have enjoyed Crispin's journey from traitorous knight to renowned Tracker. I thought the plot was far weaker than in previous books and unlike many others, I was not necessarily happy to have a certain previous character return.  

When I learned that this book was the second last book in this series, it made a lot more sense to me as it really felt like this book was leading up to something else considering all the self-reflection that Crispin was going through.  Because of this, I felt like he was 'off' his game and missed important things in his investigation that would have been easy for him to spot.  I have always like how the author included relics in her stories and the search for Excalibur definitely caught my interest.  Gosh, who hasn't gone through a King Arthur phase in their life?  And then a second one?  Just mention Cornwall and my heart starts beating faster.   

I did think the plot was quite a bit weaker than in previous novels.  I usually flip through pages because the suspense is so high, but not in this one.  Now that doesn't mean there wasn't a lot going on, but while it was convoluted, it didn't mesh as well as it usually does.  And figuring out the murderer was quite easy, not something I am used to with these books so I was a bit disappointed as I was looking forward to some good red herrings and didn't quite get them.  

But, this author has an amazing ability to describe life during the fourteenth century in vivid detail and pays attention to small details which I appreciate.  And I love the fact she focuses on everyone while so many novels focus on the wealthy and the nobility.  There was quite a bit of focus on Crispin's past in this one, much more than usual, which makes me wonder what she has in store for our Crispin in the last book of the series.  

Sword of Shadows was an okay read, but definitely not as good as previous books in this series.  The mystery was not as tight as usual and I was not really excited to have a certain character from the past re-appear, but it is what it is.  It was interesting take on Arthur's story and as always, the author includes little tidbits of historical information in her books about treasure hunting and the laws from the time period, which is always fascinating. I will definitely be sorry to come to the end of this series.  For those of you who are new to Crispin Guest, this book could be read as a stand alone, but I do highly recommend you start from the beginning to really flesh out the main characters and understand what drives Crispin Guest.  It is an interesting tale.


Post a Comment