A disgraced knight who’s been scratching out a living as a private-inquiry agent in medieval London takes on a case that challenges him in ways he never expected.
Crispin Guest, known as the "Tracker," lives in poverty in London’s Shambles with Jack, a former pickpocket, as his servant and helper. He’s approached by Jewish physician Jacob of Provençal to help recover stolen manuscripts with a dark history. Edward I exiled all Jews from England in 1290. Most of those who stayed were converts remaining in a ghetto for their own safety, but some hidden in the population have been secretly practicing their religion. Jacob and his son Julian have been brought over from France to help the Queen conceive. Though he takes the case, Guest (Serpent in the Thorns, 2009, etc.) is much more interested in the brutal deaths of a series of poor boys, strangled, sodomized and eviscerated. Believing the blood libels against Jews, he comes to suspect Julian, who’s conducting some scientific experiments that make Guest very uneasy. In addition, however, several people highly placed at court seem to have secrets to hide. Guest continues to prowl the mean streets of London and the even more dangerous halls of the King’s court in search of answers.
Information on 14th-century anti-Semitism and homosexuality are highlights of Crispin’s third adventure, based on a real 15th-century crime spree.