The Fool's Tale

The Fool's Tale

Book - 2005
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A spellbinding voice in historical fiction makes her remarkable debut in a moving and beautifully rendered tale of love and politics, loyalty and duplicity -- and the extreme lengths to which such forces drive us

The year 1198. All of Wales is in turmoil.King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known to his people as Noble, is struggling to protect his small kingdom from treacherous Welsh princes and Roger Mortimer, an ambitious English baron who murdered Noble's father years earlier. Desperate to secure a peace treaty, the king grimly agrees to a political marriage with Isabel Mortimer, Roger's niece.

Isabel, not yet twenty, is confounded by the intimacy and informality of the Welsh court, which to her foreign eyes looks barbaric and backward. As determined and willful as she is na#65533;ve, she eventually earns the respect and affection of her husband and his subjects -- with the notable exception of Gwirion, the king's oldest and oddest friend, who has a particular, private reason to hate Mortimers.

Gwirion's rascally tricks and diversions are expected -- and relished -- by all at Cymaron Castle. But a disastrous prank played during the royal wedding ignites a volatile competition between queen and confidant for the king's affection, with most unexpected consequences.

As Mortimer makes it apparent that he has no intention of honoring the peace treaty, the bond between Noble and Isabel grows strained. And when Gwirion and Isabel's mutual animosity is abruptly transformed, Noble finds himself as threatened by those he loves best as by the enemies who menace his crown.

A masterful debut novel by a gifted storyteller, The Fool's Tale combines vivid historical fiction, compelling political intrigue, and passionate romance to create an intimate drama of three individuals bound -- and undone -- by love and loyalty.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Pub., c2005
ISBN: 9780060721503
Characteristics: xiv, 523 p. : map


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Jun 12, 2016

Bad read, her writing is pretty low level and unengaging. The plot is lame, the characters not likeable or believable in many ways, and esp for the period. The sexual stuff not entertaining just off putting, like a silly adolescent came up with.

Apr 22, 2015

The Fool's Tale is not your usual medieval fiction. It's utterly compelling, with three main characters who are each lovable and hateful in equal measure (I love me some fallible characters). It makes for an excellent history lesson in terms of the relationship between Wales and England during the reign of Richard the Lionhearted (something I knew nothing about, previously). It's also an excellent story of human nature, obligation and power.

There's romance, but it's also not your typical setup. And nobody is made into a villain (and everybody is), and nobody is the hero (and everybody is). It's complex but not complicated, and although the first half was a bit slow and frustrating because I didn't like any of the three very much, by the middle of the book it took off. By the end, I was gasping and flipping pages like a fiend, skipping sleep and totally emotionally overwrought.

So, of course, I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction, especially medieval. Also for fans of complex, three-dimensional characters with grey morality who are so real you feel like you could touch them. Also for fans of England, and Wales. And classic lit/myth (like Beowulf, Tristan & Isolde, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Arthurian legend, etc).

Feb 15, 2012

Loved this book. Had a grat romance subplot. Highly recommend it

Aug 15, 2008

Loved this book. The Welsh names are hard to handle and I kept consulting the listing of pronunciations. But once I decided to just gloss over them and finally get who was who tentatively right, the story was excellent. I did not predict the ending at all.

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