When the mythical Stone of Destiny is stolen from the throne of England in Westminster Abbey, Crispin Guest, the Tracker, witnesses the dramatic disappearance for himself. After the disastrous civil strife of the last two years, he knows well that King Richard II now fears that the populace will take it as a sign to side with Richard’s rebellious barons. The king can little afford for his authority to be any more undermined, especially after the English army suffers a crushing defeat against a Scottish uprising. Desperate, Richard turns to Crispin to find the missing Stone. And to ensure that he will do the deed, the king imprisons Jack Tucker and orders Crispin to find the Stone before Parliament convenes in three days’ time—or Jack will hang for treason…
Cast of Characters
Crispin Guest, the Tracker*
Jack Tucker, his apprentice*
King Richard II
Queen Anne of Bohemia, his wife
Lady Margaret, her attendant*
Abbot William de Colchester, abbot of Westminster Abbey
Brother John Sandon, a monk, the abbot’s assistant
Brother Thomas Merke, a monk, the abbot’s assistant
Brother Crisdean, a monk*
Brother Andrew, a monk*
Lady Katherine Swynford, mistress to John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster
Henry Bolingbroke, earl of Derby and son of the duke of Lancaster
Hugh Waterton, Henry’s chamberlain
Domnhall, a thief*
John Rykener, an old friend of Crispin’s
Adam Carlyle, newly elected sheriff of London
Thomas Austin, newly elected sheriff of London
William Venour, current sheriff of London
Hugh Fastolf, current sheriff of London
Hamo Eckington, the sheriff’s clerk*
Gilbert Langton, proprietor of the Boar’s Tusk*
Eleanor Langton, his wife*
Martin Kemp, a tinker and Crispin’s landlord*
Alice Kemp, his wife*
Deargh, a Scottish gentleman*
Findlaich, a Scottish gentleman*
McGuffin, a Scottish gentleman*
John Dunbar, earl of Moray, the Mormaer of Fife
Bill Woodecock, the king’s steward*
*denotes fictional people
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How do you feel about John Rykener as a sidekick?
2. How do you feel about Crispin’s grudging acceptance of Rykener’s lifestyle?
3. Who was the real villain?
4. The Stone served as a symbol of what?
5. This is our first glimpse of Queen Anne and Katherine Swynford. How do you feel about them?
6. Henry is in a tough place. Discuss the many eggshells he must traverse.
7. Crispin feels a little lost without Jack. Discuss how their relationship has shaped both of them.
8. Discuss the humor in this book.
9. There is an homage/noir in-joke having to do with a character’s name. Have you figured it out? (Email me if you can’t)