A disgraced knight earns a meager living as a private inquiry agent in 1383 London.
Crispin Guest lost everything but his life after plotting against King Richard II. Now he must use his wits to survive in a dark and dangerous world he hardly knew existed. When a wealthy merchant hires Guest to determine whether his wife is unfaithful, he quickly becomes embroiled in a more complex and ominous plot. The wife, who is indeed unfaithful, seems surprisingly dissatisfied with her adultery. When her husband is found murdered in a locked room, she hires Guest to find and dispose of a holy relic her husband has hidden in the house. The Mandyllon is a cloth said to bear the image of Jesus’ face. In its presence everyone must tell the truth. Guest soon realizes there are other people interested in the Mandyllon, including the wife’s Saracen lover and a group of Italians working for a powerful enemy of England. Threatened by the sheriff and left for dead in the Thames, Guest ends up falling for the merry widow. A former servant, she is no mate for a former knight who retains his honor and class prejudices. Still a loyal liege of England, he ignores the threats and keeps working to expose a sinister plot.
This first installment in a planned series, introducing a conflicted hero and delving into the grim lives of ordinary people in medieval times, will appeal to mystery and history fans alike.