Book Discussion Guide: Traitor’s Codex


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?