by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
# Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
# Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 1, 2004)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0446613843
# Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.3 x 1.2 inches
PRICE IDR 50.000,- (NEW)
— Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
The first time I heard the expression “gettin’ medieval” was in the film Pulp Fiction. It’s not a good thing; suffice to say it is not about chivalry, honor in combat or respect for a fallen foe. No, those were nasty times, those Middle Ages, the 13th and 14th centuries. It’s a wonder that, between wars and the Black Plague, the species survived. However, our concept of real property and some of our ideas and practices of democracy arose from this era, so it certainly wasn’t all bad. And literature! What a fertile field for stories lies therein. About the last thing one would expect, however, is for James Patterson to write a novel set during that era. That is exactly though what THE JESTER is.
THE JESTER is another collaboration between Patterson and Andrew Gross. Gross quite ably contributed to 2nd CHANCE and again demonstrates in THE JESTER his shared ability with Patterson to keep things moving and interesting. The aim here is elementary in the idea, but difficult in the execution: keep the reader interested and keep the pages turning. Patterson and Gross succeed on both counts.
The jester is Hugh De Luc, an innkeeper who the comedian Jackie Vernon would have described as “poor but poverty stricken;” in a moment of bad judgment, he joins the First Crusade. Sick at heart and disillusioned over what he experiences and witnesses, he returns to his village to find it laid to waste, his inn destroyed, his infant son — whom he never knew — murdered and his beloved wife, Sophie, abducted. The instigator of this carnage is a ruthless Duke who believes that De Luc is in possession of a priceless religious relic. De Luc, seeking revenge, disguises himself as a jester in order to infiltrate the duke’s court, where he believes his wife is being held. He is aided in his quest by an enigmatic young woman named Emilie, who has more to risk by assisting De Luc than he can imagine. But that is not the only surprise that awaits De Luc. He soon finds that his quest for rescue and revenge will take him to places far beyond any he could have anticipated.
THE JESTER will appeal not only to Patterson’s regular readers, but also to those who, when the dust settles and the smoke clears, simply enjoy a good story. There is also, among the graphic descriptions of violence contained in THE JESTER, a real tale of romance here. Patterson again demonstrates that he is capable of doing anything — and doing it quite well. And Gross’s contribution to this process cannot be ignored. Further collaborations between these gentlemen will be most welcomed.