London 1394 Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, is enjoying his ale in the Boar’s Tusk tavern – until a stranger leaves a mysterious wrapped bundle on his table, telling him, “You’ll know what to do.” Inside is an ancient leather-bound book written in an unrecognizable language. Accompanied by his apprentice, Jack Tucker, Crispin takes the unknown codex to a hidden rabbi, where they make a shocking discovery: it is the Gospel of Judas from the Holy Land, and its contents challenge the very doctrine of Christianity itself. Crispin is soon drawn into a deadly maze involving murder, living saints, and lethal henchmen. Why was he given the blasphemous book, and what should he do with it? A series of horrific events confirm his fears that there are powerful men who want it – and who will stop at nothing to see it destroyed.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Crispin Guest, the Tracker*
Jack Tucker, his apprentice*
Philippa Walcote, a mercer’s wife*
Christopher Walcote, her son*
Sir Richard Whittington, Sheriff of London
Drewe Barentyne, Sheriff of London
Hamo Eckington, their clerk*
Gilbert Langton, proprietor of the Boar’s Tusk*
Walter Spillewood, entrepreneur*
John Pickett, a merchant*
Hugh Ashdown, a merchant*
John Suthfield, a bookseller*
Peter Pardeu, a barber*
William and John, his sons*
Hugo Crouch, a beggar*
Thomas Clanvowe, a courtier
Sir Thomas Percy, the king’s chamberlain
Edward Howard, a merchant*
Francis Bastian, his nephew*
Dame Julian, an anchoress
John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster
Katherine Swynford, his mistress
Richard II, King of England
*denotes fictional people
1 Why does Crispin keep the book?
2 Why are the Lollards a threat?
3 Was Richard’s confession surprising?
4 How does Crispin of 1394 compare with the Crispin of 1384?
5 Why would Dame Julian be interested in such a book?
6 There are doubles in this book. Discuss.
7 Crispin is outnumbered by Tuckers. How has this changed him?