Traitor’s Codex Discussion Guide

INTRODUCTION

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?