Set in London in 1388, The Silence of Stones is the exciting eighth installment of the Crispin Guest series. The novel opens, as anticipated, with action, in this case an explosion, after which it is discovered that the Stone of Destiny has been stolen from the coronation chair and replaced with a replica. King Richard II tasks Crispin with finding the Stone, which is thought to create kings. To “encourage” Crispin’s best efforts, Richard imprisons his apprentice, Jack Tucker, with the threat of a traitor’s death if Crispin doesn’t find the Stone in three days.
Crispin himself seems to be growing as a character, for he is less bitter about his situation in life than in previous books. His tracking skills are as keen as ever, though, and help make his compelling characteristics shine. Jack Tucker also is growing both as a character and as a boy. He manages a wonderful side job of his own, despite being under lock and key. It is wonderful to see him stretch his wings as a tracker and as a boy becoming a man.
Henry Bolingbroke, Katherine Swynford, and, delightfully, John Rykener all make important appearances throughout the book as well. Despite his squeamishness, Rykener makes a terrific and funny sidekick, one who will hopefully continue the role in future novels, though of course not to replace Jack. For readers less familiar with Rykener, he was a 14th-century cross-dressing prostitute. Westerson’s author’s note goes into further detail about this intriguing historical figure. This is a satisfying and fast-paced tale, complete with Westerson’s typical dry humor and thorough research.
Link to official HNS review: https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/the-silence-of-stones-a-crispin-guest-mystery/