Author Jeri Westerson has done it again: She's managed to craft another fascinating, entertaining, engaging book in a style that's been dubbed "medieval noir."
Her latest book, Blood Lance, is the fifth in her series of books about Crispin Guest, a detective of sorts during the medieval era, a man who was previously a knight.
One of the many aspects of this book and series I enjoy is how Westerson combines history with fiction, even historical figures with fictional ones, with grace and eloquence.
In our latest interview--I previously interviewed her about her book Troubled Bones--she also talks about her concerns about the state of the publishing industry and how it will affect authors including herself.
The photos include two of Jeri jousting, which she did as part of research for this book. The jousting photos were taken by Craig Westerson.
How did the ideas for the latest book in your Crispin Guest series develop? How would you summarize the plot for this one?
The latest is Blood Lance: In late 14th century London, disgraced former knight Crispin Guest spies a body hurtling from the uppermost reaches of London Bridge. Crispin’s attempted rescue fails, however, and the man—an armourer with a shop on the bridge—is dead. While whispers in the street claim that it was a suicide, Crispin is unconvinced. He discovers that the armourer had promised Sir Thomas Saunfayl something that would make him unbeatable in battle. Sir Thomas--a friend from Crispin’s former life--believes that the item was in fact the Spear of Longinus - the spear that pierced the side of Christ on the cross—which is believed to make those who possess it invincible.
Complicating matters is another old friend, Geoffrey Chaucer, who is suddenly anxious to help Crispin find the missing spear…and locate Sir Thomas, who must face a trial by joust for desertion to determine whether he lives or dies. Desperate to help, Crispin, along with his faithful apprentice Jack Tucker, hunt for the spear while dodging the various powerful factions determined to have it for themselves. Through danger and trials, Crispin finds that the safety of England may have landed solely in his hands.
I wanted to write something that dealt with Crispin’s knightly past, to feature a joust, and bring in the iconic London Bridge into the story. So I chose a knightly relic—the Spear of Longinus. And because Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder seemed to frequently feature in the nightly news, I thought I’d explore that and its history. Surely, I thought, that this is not a new phenomenon. And when I delved into the research I found it wasn’t, though it went by other names in the past, most notably cowardice. And so I brought a knight back into Crispin’s life suffering from PTSD but seen through the eyes of medieval people. One thing just leads on to another thing when it comes to devising plot.