This is the first in a series about Crispin Guest, a disgraced knight, who is now working as a finder, the Tracker he is called; someone who discovers culprits or things people have lost. Living in rather abject poverty, he remains scrupulously honest, insisting that his self-appointed servant, Jack, return purses he has picked. Crispin had unfortunately allied himself with the Lancastrians when Richard II became king and his conduct being considered treasonous lost everything except his life, thanks to the intervention of his Duke.
Guest is hired by a local merchant to follow his wife and discover whether she has been unfaithful. Guest does so and witnesses her adultery. Before he can make his report, his employer is murdered in a locked and sealed room. Not having had a chance to collect his fee, Crispin is then approached by the man's widow who wants to engage him to find a relic, a cloth with the image of Jesus. When in its presence, people cannot lie.
The plot inevitably thickens and soon involves threats to control England's economic future, a battle for control of the cloth the intersection of assorted other sub-plots.
I'll read more in the series, but I knocked off a couple of the infamous stars, as I felt the plot lines remained indistinct as did the rather confusing battle scene on the bridge at the end of the novel. Nevertheless, I liked the gritty realism of 1384 and the book is certainly as good as many other historical mysteries out there.
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