Serpent in the Thorns (#2)

Previous: Veil of Lies | Next: The Demon’s Parchment

After being stripped of his knighthood for treason and cast out from high society, Crispin Guest has reinvented himself as the Tracker, an investigator who can find anything and anyone. When Grayce, a distraught scullery maid arrives on his doorstep, frantic after finding a dead man in her room, Crispin examines the scene of what he thinks is a straightforward murder. After learning that the murdered man was an important courier in possession of a dangerous holy artifact, an object so valuable its absence could begin a war between empires, he quickly realizes this is no ordinary case.

During his investigation, Guest unexpectedly encounters his nemesis, Miles Aleyn, the treasonous mastermind behind his fall from grace. Aleyn is acting suspiciously, and Guest must conquer his desire for revenge to find out just what he may be hiding.

Surrounded by possible suspects, Guest will have to use his wiles to navigate both the exclusive halls of King Richard’s court, and the hardscrabble streets of 14th century London. In a world full of old friends, mysterious strangers and dangerous enemies, he will have to uncover lies well told and truth well hidden to find the murderer, protect his country and save himself.

The riveting second mystery in the Crispin Guest series is an evocative and thrilling medieval noir tale of suspense and murder. Serpent in the Thorns was a finalist for both the Macavity Award and the Bruce Alexander Mystery Award.


“An appealing premise [...] Crispin’s derring-do as he weaves between the Court and the kitchens is distinctively entertaining.”


“Westerson adds flavor to the tale by enhancing the relationship between Guest and his young helper. Readers who can’t get enough of medieval historicals will snap this one up.”

Library Journal

“Westerson’s noir-influenced historical mystery boasts a strong cast of characters and makes good use of period details. This makes an excellent choice for mystery and historical fiction lovers.”


“Gripping scenes of escape, vivid descriptions of everyday life, and a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. A rollicking good read for fans of the genre.”

School Library Journal

“Her second book entertains as much as as did her 2008 novel VEIL OF LIES […] an interesting protagonist and beguiling read.”

North Country Times

“Combine the historical lore with an intricate plot and a winning protagonist, and this is a series with broad appeal.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Crispin is a complex character who is struggling to regain his status in life, but not at the cost of what he holds dear to himself: his honor. He is engaging and interesting to discover more about.”

Green Man Review

“Fast, clever and wonderful this is a great way to spend an evening.”

Crimespree Magazine

“Westerson has caught the spirit of the age with plots and counterplots as well as the sights, sounds, and smells of that age’s seamier London neighborhoods.”

I Love a Mystery

Awards & Accolades


Macavity Award Finalist: “Best Historical Mystery”


LCC/Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award Finalist